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Frontline report: Ukraine captures stranded Russian airborne company near Bakhmut

Bakhmut Ukrainian offensive
Ukrainians assaulted a trench network south of Bakhmut with the help of drones. Screenshot from combat footage
Frontline report: Ukraine captures stranded Russian airborne company near Bakhmut
Article by: Reporting from Ukraine
The capture was possible thanks to a quick reaction after finding out the Russian company was stranded. Ukrainian soldiers become increasingly flexible and capitalize on opportunities on the battleground, avoiding frontal assaults, creating deceptive lines of attack, and using drones to capture Russian trench networks from within the labyrinths. 

Day 490.

Today there are a lot of updates from the east.

First of all, more information became available about the massively successful Ukrainian operation along the canal near Klishchiivka, to the south of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine.

As Russians understood that it was just a matter of time until Ukrainians finished what they started west of the canal, Russians mined the approaches to their positions. Each tree line, therefore, became a formidable defensive line, which required a lot of preparation and technical excellence to overcome.

The first thing Ukrainians did was to clear several pathways through the field by blowing up the mines with a special line charge. Next, Ukrainians used three armored fighting vehicles to close the distance and simultaneously suppress enemy fire.

As we can see, Ukrainians used only one of the pathways created by the line charge.

Creating multiple lines is necessary for several reasons, one of which is to confuse the enemy and make them panic in trying to identify at the last minute which way the assault units are going to turn, but more importantly, to dissipate enemy artillery and mortar fire. The assault was quite short, and the first line of defense was breached with no hurdles, which is why Ukrainians immediately started pushing further.

assault donbas Ukraine Klishchiivka
Ukraine conducts several lines of assault to exhaust artillery. Screenshot from video

The next Ukrainian target became an extensive trench network just several hundred meters away from the newly captured positions. After cutting the distance and entering the first trenches, Ukrainians engaged in close combat fighting. Judging by the footage, Ukrainians had an absolute tactical advantage just because they had drones.

As you might expect, it is extremely difficult to navigate inside a trench network because it is effectively a labyrinth. However, looking from above reduces the complexity virtually to zero. Ukrainian drone operators continuously notified the troops on the ground about the number of Russian soldiers in front of them, the movement of these soldiers, how many turns they are away from them, and especially when Russians were reloading. A group of Russians that started reloading simultaneously immediately got charged and killed.

Trench network Klishchiivka
Trench network captured by Ukraine near Klishchiivka. Screenshot from footage

Soon, Russian soldiers that were cut off from the rest started surrendering. In contrast, other soldiers tried to flee by crossing the canal and reaching other Russian positions separated by the water.

But the biggest news today is that Ukrainians took a large number of Russian troops into a pocket near Klishchiivka. Here, the main goal of Ukrainians is to breach the Russian defense in Klishchiivka and start encircling Bakhmut from the south.

Last time I told you that Ukrainians cleared the last tree line in front of the main Russian fortification, which also opened access to the forest. Since there is no point in immediately rushing to the strongest Russian position, Ukrainians decided to develop their success further in the forest and managed to reach the main part of it.

Today a Ukrainian fighter from the 24th assault brigade reported that they noticed that a Russian airborne company lost connection with other units. Ukrainians conducted a pincer movement by advancing from Bakhmut’s gardens and the newly captured tree line. Russian soldiers appeared in a pocket before they even knew it.

Soon, Ukrainian fighters offered them to surrender, and some soldiers even published it on social media. Four minutes later, another Ukrainian soldier reported that the Russian airborne company surrendered.

Bakhmut Ukraine offensive
The place where the Russian airborne division surrendered. Screenshot from video

Overall, Ukrainians continue being extremely flexible with their plans and trying to capitalize on any opportunities that they identify in the battleground. Such a quick reaction to the news about no radio connection of a Russian forefront position allowed Ukrainians to save a lot of lives that otherwise would have been lost in direct assaults of the same positions when Russians would have fixed the issue. Unfortunately for Russians, this position was quickly lost today, and Russian control over the forest shrank even more.

If the current trend continues and Ukrainians completely clear the forest, the main Russian fortification on the hill will no longer be as formidable due to the lack of supplies. It looks like Ukrainians are undermining this trench network as much as possible before the main confrontation.

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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