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Frontline report: Ukraine liberates Piatykhatky, destroys crucial Russian ammunition depot

Map: screenshot from the video
Frontline report: Ukraine liberates Piatykhatky, destroys crucial Russian ammunition depot
Ukrainian forces secure control over Piatykhatky on the southern front, inflict heavy losses on Russian reserves and headquarters, and destroy a crucial ammunition depot, paving the way for further advances.

Day 480: June 18

Today there is a lot of big news from the southern front.

First of all, overnight into 18 June, there was a decisive battle for Piatykhatky. Russian sources elaborated on their tactical retreat and said the decision to abandon the settlement was made when Ukrainians established control over half of the settlement. Russian fighters reported that Ukrainians felt the momentum and started reinforcing their offensive efforts, while Russian forces, in many ways, were cut off from their reserves. Recent combat footage shows that Ukrainians finally started using mine-laying drones in large numbers. Even though such drones cannot be driven far behind the front lines, they are very effective at mining the roads along the front line, especially those connecting Russian positions between the tree lines.

Ukraine confirms liberation of Piatykhatky settlement in Zaporizhzhia Oblast

Today at night, Russian forces tried to counterattack and recapture the village. However, these attacks did not go well. It turned out that after a successful assault, Ukrainians did not withdraw their reserves altogether but rather scattered them in small units near Piatykhatky, which allowed immediate engagement and destruction of enemy forces. Since Russian ground attacks were almost immediately rebuffed, Russians doubled down on using their artillery and aviation. Russian forces reportedly pulled thermobaric artillery systems into the area and also utilized their assault helicopters.

Russian sources showed several damaged and destroyed pieces of equipment inside the village, claiming that this resulted from the work of Ka-52 assault helicopters, while the Ukrainian General Staff confirmed that they shot down two such helicopters. Eventually, in the morning, most Russian sources admitted that Ukrainians managed to entrench and now hold tight control over the settlement.

Some Russian analysts pointed out that the fall of Piatykharky meant that Russian positions in the tree lines around this settlement were largely cut off from supplies and would either be abandoned or captured in the next days, if not hours. Other analysts reported that Ukrainians have already started regrouping and accumulating forces for the next attack in this region, namely, a lot of infantry reinforced with tanks and armored vehicles.

There are expected to be at least two, but more likely, three series of attacks: one or two to clear the flanks and widen the bridgehead and one on Zherebianky. Ukrainian fighters from the 47th Mechanized Brigade released footage showing their drone operators had already started destroying Russians in the next trenches on the line.

Russian control over the situation on the “zero line” has also greatly diminished because Ukrainians conducted a successful precision strike on the command post of the Russian 80th Brigade. Today multiple Russian sources confirmed that Russian officers indeed suffered a strike. Ukrainian sources reported that in the aftermath of a successful Storm Shadow missile strike, Ukrainians eliminated up to a dozen officers.

Another powerful strike happened slightly south of the main action, namely, in Mykolaivka. Here, Russian forces recently redeployed many forces as reserves due to the increased risk of a breakthrough in this direction, so many bases were near this settlement. On 18 June, Ukrainian fighters reported that in the aftermath of the last strike, Ukrainians eliminated 170 Russian troops. It was also mentioned that the eliminated detachment fully consisted of contactors, not mobilized soldiers.

But the biggest news today is that Ukrainians have destroyed a massive ammunition depot south of Melitopol. News sources on both sides speculate that this is also the result of the Storm Shadow missile strike. The location was quite obvious, as the Russians were spotted building and filling warehouses right on one of the official train stops on the way to Melitopol.

Satellite imagery shows that the explosion completely wiped out the entire area’s buildings and damaged those near the warehouses.

Overall, the 18 June successes on the front line and the destruction of the commanders, reserves, and warehouses responsible for this region’s stability create favorable conditions for further advancement.

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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