The day started with yet another Storm Shadow precision strike on the Russian military objects in Luhansk. The target of today’s precision strike became a dormitory on the territory of the former aviation academy, meaning Ukrainians targeted the areas of Russian forces concentrations. Local residents reported hearing 2 strikes and that the first one was without an explosion. This indicates that Ukrainians continue using ADM-160 decoy missiles to trick the Russian air defense, which proves to work.
Russian officials reported that the building was empty. However, even the most prominent Russian sources doubt that Ukrainians are using their most advanced and scarce weapon to hit empty buildings six times in a row. There is also a huge discussion about why Ukrainians started from Luhansk, as everyone expected Ukrainians to unleash this new weapon on Crimea.
The biggest reason is that Russians in Donbas can adapt to the strikes the fastest – all they need to do is to pull back by 20 km into the Russian territory, and Ukrainians will not be able to reach them because, for political reasons, it was agreed not to use long-range missiles to hit Russian territories. On the other hand, Russians in Zaporizhzhia and Crimea cannot just move 20 km back to hide from the missiles. The supply shoulder is already extremely long, so Russians must keep their command centers, barracks, and ammunition depots where they are, in spite of the imminent strikes.
Today Russian officials also confirmed that Ukrainians conducted a successful drone attack on Russian military objects in the Bryansk Oblast. As a result, Ukrainians destroyed or damaged at least 5 pieces of equipment.
Bakhmut: Wagner troops progress in center
A lot of news is also coming from the Bakhmut direction. After clearing the forest, Ukrainians started to ramp up their artillery preparation. Many Ukrainian fighters from multiple assault detachments reported about preparation for storming operation of the next positions on the line.
South of Ivanivske, there are a lot of small roads along the tree lines, where Russians have prepared a lot of trenches. Recently released footage shows how Ukrainians are using UR-77 to shoot a 70-meter-wide explosive charge to clear the whole trench network in one big explosion. But Ukrainians are shelling not only the first but also the second and third lines. The goal of these deeper strikes is to destroy the enemy reserves and create disarray in their supplies.
Ukrainian aerial reconnaissance has already started clearing Kodema. A recent video shows how Ukrainians found and destroyed the Russian air defense system.
When it comes to the city itself, there have been a lot of changes over the last seven days. Last time I told you that Russian forces managed to penetrate Ukrainian defense from the northeast and establish control over the outer building, which Ukrainians then blew up from a distance. After several days of shelling Ukrainian positions with incendiary munitions and setting the whole western residential area on fire, Russian forces managed to undermine the Ukrainian defense. Buildings located along Levanevskoho Street became their new target.
Ukrainians tried to use their tanks to chase Wagner troops from the high-rise buildings, but with such big fortifications, this tactic did not work as well and only slowed down the Russian advance by inflicting many losses. Over the last two days, Wagner forces developed their bridgehead even more and reportedly established control over the local supermarket. A fighter from the 24th Assault Brigade reported that Russians also established positions around school #12.
In the southern part of the region, the situation is more stable. Ukrainians continue controlling Chaikovkoho Street and firing at Russian positions in the Industrial College. The main goal of the Russians here was to penetrate Ukrainian positions past the college and hit the citadel from the back. However, they got stuck and continued to lose men in an attempt to cross the street.
While Ukrainians on the flanks are slowly engulfing Bakhmut from two sides, Ukrainians inside the city continue drawing Russian forces on themselves. The main goal here is to push Russians to the point of no return, where even if they establish full control over the city, it would be a very sour victory as they would find themselves in a pocket.
The operation is quite risky, and several formidable fortifications are on the way, namely in Klischiivka. The good news is that Ukrainians will be storming them from the highlands, which simplifies the task significantly.
The Head of the Eastern Group of Forces once again arrived in the Bakhmut direction, and it’s been speculated that he arrived with instructions for the second phase of the Bakhmut counter-encirclement operation.
In our daily frontline report, we pair up with military blogger Reporting from Ukraine to keep you informed about what’s happening on the battlefield in the Russo-Ukrainian war.