Today the biggest news comes from the south. Here, the intensity of Ukrainian attacks has reached new peaks as Ukrainians opened several more lines of attack. Due to the increased pressure, Russians started losing their positions, and the occupation authorities suddenly launched evacuation from the pre-frontal settlements. The evacuation sparked panic about the beginning of the Ukrainian counteroffensive, and today Ukrainian Deputy Minister of Defense Hanna Maliar finally confirmed that the counteroffensive has started.
Last time I told you that in the aftermath of reconnaissance-in-force operations, Ukrainians significantly reduced the grey zone area, got very close to Nesterianka, and started destroying Russian defense infrastructure in the village. I also told you that Ukrainians started slowly increasing the area of operation and activating along the whole front line.
The freshest reports suggest that Ukrainians breached the Russian defense in the trenches in front of Novodanylivka and got closer to Nesterianka and Kopani from the east.
Ukrainian presence was also noted in the southern part of Kamianske, which means that Russians highly likely abandoned Piatykhatky as well. As the front moved south, Ukrainians started preparing for an attack on the next Russian trenches on the line. Getting closer also allowed Ukrainians to expose Russian mortar crews that previously operated in the back and promptly destroy them. In some places, Ukrainian drone operators managed to identify and destroy Russian tanks that were used to reinforce defensive positions.
Ukrainian Head of Melitopol reported that Russians announced an urgent evacuation from all settlements between Vasylivka and Tokmak, fearing that this may soon become the most active battleground. To prevent the accumulation of a critical amount of heavy equipment in the region, Russian forces started to actively use guided air bombs. These bombs weigh from 500 to 1500 kilograms and have a range of up to 40 kilometers, which poses a significant threat to Ukrainian plans. Ukrainians are responding to these problems by creating fake warehouses and also by reinforcing the region with air defense. However, in the meantime, Ukrainians are trying to reciprocate the damage and are also identifying and destroying Russian warehouses with ammunition and equipment.
It looks like the same action is going to take place very soon in the Orikhiv direction because Russian reconnaissance recently reported that Ukrainians are actively demining significant clusters of land. Another indicator of the imminent Ukrainian offensive actions here is the fact that certain elements of the 71st Jager Brigade and 46th Assault Brigade recently arrived at Orikhiv, according to Russian sources.
But while the soldiers around Orikhiv are just preparing to launch an assault, the famous Ukrainian 72nd Mechanized Brigade conducted a series of assaults near Vuhledar. Previously, I told you that Ukrainians counterattacked Russians from the north, undermined Russian defense in the eastern hamlet, and then cleared it. Recent reports suggest that now they mostly focused on the south and attacked Russian positions in the remaining tree lines in front the town, and, most importantly, they attacked the northern part Pavlivka.
Many analysts have noted the intensification of fighting along the whole southern line, but today, the Ukrainian Deputy Minister of Defense finally confirmed that the counteroffensive operation has started. She stated that it is incorrect to wait for a specific date because counteroffensive is a long process and it is only the culmination that happens quickly, but no one can predict when the culmination will happen as it depends on the conditions on the ground.
Right now, Ukrainians are testing Russian defenses, letting the newly formed assault units gain combat experience and, for the most part, follow the path of lowest resistance – meaning they push where they can, leaving the strongest positions for later. Russian analysts predict that Ukrainians will make at least two huge attacks during the last week of April to test new tactics and then launch a full-scale counteroffensive during the first half of May.