Day 424. Today there are a lot of updates from the East. Russian forces tried to capitalize on their recent gains in front of the main supply road to Bakhmut, conducted an extensive assault on the remaining trenches, and managed to push Ukrainians from the road. However, Ukrainians cut Russian supplies with fire, let Russians stay under constant drone and artillery strikes, and launched an unblocking operation, clearing half of the field.
Last time, I told you that Russians managed to breach one of the lines of fortifications in front of the Khromova highway and cut off a huge portion of supplies. I also told you that the situation remained unstable because Ukrainian-held trenches surrounded Russian positions and since they are around 50 meters apart, the clashes here continued.
The freshest reports indicate that Russians got trapped. Holding this trench under constant fire was extremely difficult, which is why Russians made several attempts to retreat. Unfortunately for Russians, even retreating from this trench would be problematic because the moment they got out of the trench to cross the tree line, they would have been shot.
Such a situation, however, worked in favor of the Russian command, who preferred not to lose it, as taking each line comes at a great cost. That is why the Russian command quickly prepared another wave of attack and stormed the outer two lines once again. The Russian attack was very successful, and they managed to push Ukrainians all the way to the trenches south of the road.
But intense clashes did not end here. Ukrainians immediately started preparing for a counterattack and, in the meantime, assigned the most skilled drone operators to drop grenades on Russians in the trenches non-stop.
The fighters from the 92nd Mechanized Brigade reported that only their drone operators managed to eliminate more than 40 Russian troops here over the last two days.
After undermining Russian defense capabilities, Ukrainians conducted a short mechanized assault to pave the way for their infantry. Russian sources reported that Ukrainians used several tanks and armored vehicles, although they used the equipment carefully and provided fire support at a distance. Combat footage revealed that while Russian positions in the eastern trench were under fire, special operators from the National Guard of Ukraine crossed the road and engaged in close combat fighting. This was the first major step in recapturing the trench network.
The latest footage features fighters from the famous 3rd Assault Brigade. Judging by the footage, they successfully breached Russian defense and completely cleared the closest to the road line.
A fighter from the Aidar battalion reported that Russians do not hold positions closer than 200 meters from the road. This means that Ukrainians established total control over the trenches between the highway and the field road. From here, Ukrainians will likely attack the western line first because it is the most vulnerable to Ukrainian attacks.
For now, the Khromova highway still remains inoperable because Russians are too close. The road is in their line of sight, which means that they can conduct direct fire at vehicles. Once they are pushed behind the tree line, Russians will only be able to rely on indirect fire, which means surveilling the area with drones and coordinating with artillery and mortar crews.
Conducting indirect fire is extremely difficult, as drones can be shot down or run out of battery and artillery needs to react timely. The road is only 5 kilometers long, which means that Russians have only 3 minutes to react if the average speed is 100 kilometers per hour. Nonetheless, at this time, Ukrainians are receiving supplies via the Ivanovske highway, and today’s footage shows how Ukrainians successfully entered the city.
When it comes to the city itself, Ukrainian fighters reported that most of the fights continued to take place along Kranye Street. A fighter from the 24th assault brigade reported that Russian snipers assumed positions in the high-rise buildings on Levonevskoho Street. Later, Ukrainians rolled out their tanks and decimated Russian positions in these buildings, which allowed Ukrainians to move in the region more freely.
When it comes to the center, recent geolocated footage suggests that Russians managed to take the first street west of the rails. The footage shows how Russians are firing at Ukrainian positions in the high-rise building. The fighting along the central and southern line remains intense, although this axis is still secondary for Russians, as their main efforts are directed towards the outer edge of the city.
Overall, the battle for Bakhmut continues to buy Ukrainians time to receive the pledged tanks and equipment for the main phase of the counter-offensive operation, because many countries organized the deliveries just this week and many still plan to do it next week. The head of the Wagner forces, Prigozhin, said that Ukrainians need at least 10 days of relatively hot and dry weather for the ground to become suitable for broad mechanized assaults.
By holding Bakhmut, Ukrainians are forcing Russians to deploy at least three times as many troops just to maintain progress inside the city. But more importantly, Ukrainians do not allow Russians to redeploy from Bakhmut tens of thousands of troops, because as long as Ukrainians are inside the city, Russians are afraid of the unblocking operation and continue to reinforce Bakhmut’s flanks at the expense of other directions.