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Frontline report: Diversionary tactics lead to Ukrainian success in Zaporizhzhia’s Lobkove assault

What Russian Defense Ministry claimed to the their helicopter attack on Ukrainian Leopard 2 tanks turned out to be Russian strikes on agricultural equipment, harvesters and tractors. Screenshots with identification: Source.
Frontline report: Diversionary tactics lead to Ukrainian success in Zaporizhzhia’s Lobkove assault
Ukrainian forces execute a two-pronged attack on Russian positions at Lobkove, Zaporizhzhia Oblast, utilizing tactical advantages and diversionary tactics to achieve success as the Russian Defense Ministry shows footage of its attack on harvesters claiming those were Ukrainian Leopard 2 tanks.

Day 469: Jun 07

The first attack was directed toward Lobkove. Ukrainians reportedly used at least two squads of 4 armored fighting vehicles and 2 Humvees, which means it was a light reconnaissance-in-force operation. After a short engagement, Ukrainians understood the most current Russian positions and the number of troops defending them and withdrew with minor losses. Immediately after the attack, Ukrainian artillery shelled the region intensely in cooperation with drone operators, who corrected the fire to maximize the damage.

After a quick regrouping, Ukrainians assaulted Russians in Lobkove again. One assault unit advanced from Stepove and attacked Russians from the hills. Looking at the topographic map, we can see that Lobkove is located in the lowlands, which means that Ukrainians had a tactical advantage. However, Russians in Zherebianky are also at elevated positions and could easily fire at Ukrainians. That is why the second Ukrainian group advanced along the gully and assaulted Zherebianky, drawing their attention away from the main target. Russian sources reported that they stopped Ukrainians 1 km away from Zherebianky, which means that Ukrainians never left the gully and confirms that they were just distracting the enemy. Russian sources reported that Ukrainians also used two tanks to provide fire support from a distance and help to take Lobkove as fast as possible. As a result, Ukrainians destroyed Russians in Lobkove and penetrated Russian positions by 2 km. Some Russian sources reported that Ukrainians immediately abandoned Lobkove, and the village became a grey zone, but just like the last time, these reports were based on the fact that Ukrainians withdrew heavy equipment away from the contact line after a successful assault.

Lastly, when it comes to the previous successful Ukrainian attack on Novodonetske, the area of Ukrainian control has shank due to the Russian counterattacks. Nonetheless, Russian sources confirm here as well that Ukrainians retained a foothold south of the river, which is located on the tactical heights west of the settlement. We can observe that the Head of the Wagner forces, Prigozhin, was likely right when he criticized the obsession of the Russian High Command with settlements. He said that regular Russian forces often prioritize holding or capturing settlements over tactical positions around these settlements, which basically means choosing the path of the most resistance.

Prigozhin said this produces good-looking reports instead of good situations on the ground. Prigozhin also ridiculed the most recent Russian situational report, where Defense Minister Shoigu reported that they destroyed 8 Leopards during the fights around Novodonetske. Russian Ministry of Defense backed up its claims, solidified its reputation, and posted combat footage of how its assault helicopter Ka-52 destroyed 4 Leopards just 3 km north of Novodonetske. Unfortunately for the Russian Ministry of Defense, people quickly identified from the silhouette that all targets were combine harvesters and tractors. Fortunately, there were casualties as the farmers were not working at the time.

On 7 June, real combat footage was finally released, and it confirms that Ukrainians mostly used T-64 tanks.

So far, the strategic reserves, namely the 9th and 10th Corps, that Ukrainians created specifically to participate in the main phase of the counteroffensive remain untouched, and Leopard tanks have not been used as well. Just like during the previous counteroffensive operations, Ukrainians are increasing the intensity of attacks along the whole front line slowly, and only when they reach the main line of fortification and can no longer advance by conducting small attacks Ukrainians will pick the weakest spot and finally use their Leopards to deliver the main blow.

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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