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Frontline report: Russians attack all over Donetsk Oblast anticipating Ukrainian offensive

Situation in the area of Vuhledar, southern Donetsk Oblast. Screenshot from the video
Frontline report: Russians attack all over Donetsk Oblast anticipating Ukrainian offensive
Russians noticed that Ukrainians were accumulating forces in and around Donetsk’s Vuhledar and, in anticipation of a Ukrainian offensive operation, started bombing and attacking the whole region

Day 437: May 06

The freshest reports indicate that maintaining the upper hand was not easy. At first, Ukrainians tried to develop their success and leverage the newly taken positions for further advancements, but the moment the weather improved, Russians unleashed their aviation.

The aviation dropped several air bombs on the buildings in northern Vuhledar because this is where Ukrainians receive their supplies. Some bombs missed the target and fell near the hangars, but some of them did destroy several buildings. There were no signs of secondary detonations or big fires because most of the equipment and ammunition is likely stored in the coal mines less than 2 km north of Vuhledar. However, when Russians started taking down high-rise buildings, the situation worsened. Drone footage showed how Russians demolished 2 out of 3 sections of a building. In another video, a Ukrainian fighter confirmed that there were soldiers in this building.

Ukrainian forces responded to these developments by reinforcing air defense in the southern part of the Donetsk region and even conducting their own air strikes. After both parties started shooting down each other’s jets, both cooled down and, for the most part, switched back to artillery.

This gave an opportunity to the Ukrainians to replenish their reserves and start preparing for the continuation of their operation. Russian sources reported that Ukrainians reinforced the region with grenade machine guns, self-propelled mortar systems, and many unmanned aerial vehicles and drones. Russian Intelligence also claimed that they recorded the relocation of at least two battalions to Vuhledar and at least one unspecified detachment.

Russians decided not to wait and attacked Ukrainians first. The first Russian group advanced towards the eastern hamlet, while the second group attempted to expand their control over the tree lines before the coal mines. By pushing, Russians achieved limited success, as drone footage indicated that Russians established positions in the hamlet, but, as Russian sources reported, it was extremely difficult to move forward due to the heavy artillery fire.

Instead of recapturing positions north of Mykilske for the second time, Ukrainians decided to develop their success around Pavlivka. A fighter from the 72nd Mechanized Brigade made a video showing the newly retaken positions and a damaged enemy tank. A drone operator from the same brigade also released a video showing how they are moving further and conducting artillery preparation on the next Russian positions. Russian sources confirmed that Ukrainians conducted an artillery preparation and are preparing to conduct a bigger assault.

Ukrainians attacked Russian positions along the entire contact line. Several hours later, Russian sources already reported that some positions were lost. Soon, Russians resorted to the heaviest artillery and aviation, which forced Ukrainians to stop. But judging by the reported areas of Russian fire, it turned out that Ukrainians were present west of Pavlivka and likely attempted to storm it. It is yet unclear whether this unit crossed the river or attacked Russians from Predtechne. However, this raised panic in the Russian media space, and some started talking about the inevitable fall of Pavlivka.

So far, Russians are still controlling the village, but the most recent combat footage indicates that Ukrainians are already destroying Russian equipment in and around the village, likely in preparation for the storming operation. Ukrainian fighters from the 72nd Mechanized Brigade showed how they destroyed one tank near Pavlivka, one tank near Mykilske, one vehicle near Yehorivka, and even one Tyupan 10 km behind the front line. Ukrainians have also recently destroyed a huge ammunition depot in Byriuky. Ukrainians said that they noticed a while ago how Russians were accumulating green boxes in the hangars, so when the appropriate moment came, the struck the depot.

The explosions were reportedly heard and seen from 10 km away. Hopefully, the preparation for the storming operation will be completed soon, as a successful breaching of Russian defense in this region will create huge problems to Russian forces along the whole Zaporizhzhia line and may even mark the beginning of the active stage of the counteroffensive operation.

In our daily frontline report, we pair up with the military blogger Reporting from Ukraine to keep you informed about what’s happening on the battlefield in the Russo-Ukrainian war.

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