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Frontline report: Ukrainian forces hold ground, disrupt Russian logistics in southern theater

Ukrainian attack in the southern direction. Screenshot from the video
Frontline report: Ukrainian forces hold ground, disrupt Russian logistics in southern theater
On 21 June, on the southern front, Ukrainian forces repelled Russian attempts to recapture Piatykhatky using new tactics while expanding their bridgehead westward, and creating logistical challenges for the Russians.

Day 483: June 21

Today there are a lot of interesting developments on the southern front.

First of all, Ukrainian sources reported that Russian forces tried to use a new tactic in order to recapture Piatykhatky. After Ukrainians completely demolished Russian columns that tried to attack Piatykhatky along the main road, Russians started moving along the field roads south of Zherebianky in order to escape direct Ukrainian fire. Unfortunately for Russians, some assault units blew themselves up on their own mines. Even though Ukrainian fighters reported that Russians did not take significant casualties from mines, they noted that this had a huge impact on the morale and determination of the Russian soldiers. In fear of mines, other units started being extremely careful and, therefore, slow. So, when they faced Ukrainian fire, many Russian units knew that if they continued being slow and careful, Ukrainians would highly likely destroy them with mortars, which is why many of them promptly retreated in the first minutes of engagement. Ukrainian fighters remarked that only convict detachments did not stop and continued to push because otherwise, certain Chechen units who reportedly act as blocking forces would kill them for desertion.

In the meantime, Ukrainian forces are successfully expanding their bridgehead westward. If on 20 June, I told you that Ukrainians started moving along the gully to attack Russian positions from the north, then today, several sources confirmed that Ukrainians completely captured this area. The whole Russian defense in the region relies on a trench network located between Zherebianky and the forest. Ukrainians were already spotted moving along the tree lines to attack these fortifications, so Ukrainians were around 700 meters away from the settlement, not only from the east but also from the north.

Moreover, some prominent Russian sources started mentioning that logistical problems appear not only on the Luhove-Zherebianky section of the road but also Lisne-Luhove. Some sources also reported engagements between Ukrainian and Russian troops approximately 1.2 km away from Luhove. This suggests that Ukrainians cleared the tree line west of the gully, which immediately exposed a plethora of Russian positions, and, most importantly, logistics – by controlling the fields right above these two settlements, supplying Russian troops on the zero line becomes an incredibly difficult task, which gradually weakens their defense.

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In fact, Russian authorities just openly demonstrated that they are not confident about the stability of this front line by launching an evacuation of the regional administration in Vasylivka, which is 10 km away from Zherebianky. Several days ago, the occupation authorities closed all governmental facilities, stopped giving passports and other papers, and moved to Vesele, 55 km south of Vasylivka.

Another reason why Russians are afraid that their defense may collapse in this region is because the reservoir has almost completely dried up. As you can see, one of the driest regions is exactly around Vasylivka. 20 km of water have slowly turned into a desert, which Ukrainians may be able to cross and launch a powerful mechanized assault right in the least fortified part of the contact line. Some analysts have already started building projections as to which settlement along the new front line is the most probable target.

Ukrainian High Command is already considering new possibilities. While overseeing the ongoing battles along the current main axes of advance, where Russians have created an extensive system of fortifications with dense minefields and large reserves, Ukrainian Commanders are also reevaluation the situation and looking for new weak spots or even out-of-the-box opportunities.

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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