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Frontline report: Russians desert more positions, escape Ukrainian encirclement near Bakhmut

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Frontline report: Russians desert more positions, escape Ukrainian encirclement near Bakhmut
If previously Russian troops were abandoning their positions on the southern flank of Bakhmut, then today, the trend reached the Russians on the northern flank.

Day 442.

There is a lot of good news today.

First of all, Ukraine has finally received long-range missiles. The UK Defense Secretary confirmed that they decided to supply Ukraine with the Storm Shadow cruise missile that has a range of over 250 km. By contrast, the US-supplied HIMARS missiles only have a range of around 80 km. On top of that, these missiles are also low-observable, so the Russian air defense will be facing even more challenges from now on.

Simultaneously, Polish officials confirmed that they supplied Ukraine with 14 fighter jets, MiG-29. This came in very handy because the British cruise missiles are actually air-launched. The distance between the Crimean Bridge and the closest Ukrainian position is 246 km, so Ukrainians still do not have a huge buffer zone when it comes to target number one.

It looks like Ukrainians will have to rely on ballistic missile Hrim-2 if they want to reach the Crimean Bridge for sure, while the British cruise missiles are more suitable for targeting Russian supplies lines and sending a huge shock through the rear because all the biggest ammunition depots, warehouses with equipment, and command centers are approximately 90 km away from the front, which means that now they are within reach of Ukrainian Air Force.

When it comes to the Bakhmut direction, Russian flanks started to fall apart. If previously Russian troops were abandoning their positions on the southern flank, then today, the trend reached the Russians on the northern flank.

Yesterday I told you that after Ukrainians penetrated Russian defense near the canal and forced Russians to abandon their positions south of Ivanivske, Ukrainians put Russian troops in the forest in operational encirclement and would likely try to finish them next. And this is exactly what happened today.

It was reported that Ukrainians opened two lines of attack: from the northern part of the forest and from Ivanivske. The engagements were light because Ukrainians understood that Russians were cut off from supplies. As a result, closer to the second half of the day, Russians started running low on ammunition and with no prospect of improvement of the situation, several detachments from the 4th Motorized Rifle Brigade abandoned multiple positions in this region.

After seeing that their fellow men abandoned their positions, soldiers from the same 4th Motorized Rifle Brigade left a huge trench network north of Klischiivka. This is the biggest and the most fortified position south of Bakhmut. Prigozhin reported that he had to send his men from Bakhmut to plug this hole in the flank.

Today Ukrainians also launched a huge counterattack on the northern flank. In a similar fashion, Ukrainians started undermining Russian defense from the corner between Bohdanivka and a small river. After initial success, the scale of the attack was increased and Ukrainians opened two vectors of attack directed towards each other.

As a result, the Russian 9th Motorized Rifle Brigade started abandoning their positions, which resulted in even bigger first-day penetration than to the south. Right now, Ukrainians are heavily shelling Russian troops in Berkhivka and Yahidne. It looks like Ukrainians are moving in the direction of Bekhivka from the south and may very soon attack in the same direction from the north.

This will put Russian forces in Zaliznianske and Dubovo-Vasylivka in operational encirclement in the same way it put Russians in the forest in operational encirclement. Such a tactic allows Ukrainians not only to generate tactical gains at a much lower cost but also allows to capture a lot of unused equipment.

As Russians were preparing to face a huge frontal attack from Minkivka, these forces accumulated a lot of heavy equipment such as RPGs, anti-tank mines and a plethora of machine guns, mortars and other equipment which they cannot take in an event of a rapid retreat. So Ukrainians can seize a lot of trophies not only to the south of Bakhmut but also to the north.

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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