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Frontline report: Ukrainian forces breach Russian defenses near Bakhmut using drones and tanks

Map: screenshot from the video
[editorial]

Ukrainian forces employ drones and tanks to breach Russian defenses north of Donetsk’s Bakhmut, resulting in intense fighting as the capture of Yakovlivka becomes a pivotal goal. Meanwhile, Russians attempted to launch a counterattack near Berkhivka, but Ukrainian artillery stopped them.

[/editorial]

Day 491: Jun 29

Today there is a lot of news from the east.

Here, after conducting a series of successful operations south of Bakhmut, Ukrainians have shifted their focus to the northern part of the region. The main axis of advance became the Sloviansk highway, where Russians used the dense tree lines along the road to conceal extensive trench networks.

Ukrainian 30th Mechanized Brigade recently released a video that showed how exactly Ukrainians managed to breach Russian defense. As you can see, Russians have developed a very long system of trenches, which means using traditional means, such as mortars and artillery, is highly inefficient. That is why Ukrainians decided to deploy multiple assault drone crews to target Russians precisely. Unlike artillery and mortar crews that shoot their shells blindly, drone operators see their target directly and can drop explosive shells precisely on the spot where Russian forces are located. Such an approach significantly increases the effectiveness and allows them to inflict substantial losses on the enemy in the first 20 minutes.

After the first stage of the operation was completed, Ukrainians rolled out their tanks and unleashed devastating fire on the proximate branches of the trench network. This not only allowed to undermine Russian defense by demolishing the main fortifications, but also drove Russians away from the out edge, giving some space for the Ukrainian assault units to enter the first trenches. Soon, the positions were taken, and Ukrainian soldiers were seen sitting and smoking before launching the next assault. In the aftermath of coordinated actions between various detachments, Ukrainians have advanced by up to 1 km.

Russian forces tried to compensate for land losses by launching a counterattack. Their target, however, was in a slightly different region – near Berkhivka. And this is not surprising because the situation for the Russians in this village was very dire, and it became harder and harder to continue holding this settlement each day.

Map: screenshot from the video

That is why Russians decided to at least return control over the tree lines around the reservoir to increase the stability of their flanks. Ukrainian fighters met Russian assault units with fire. Ukrainian artillery was working with high intensity, and very soon, Ukrainian drone operators noticed how Russian soldiers collected their things and went away.

In the meantime, Ukrainian forces continued slowly intensifying their actions north of Bakhmut. The main idea of this group of forces was to slice off the bridgehead that Russian forces developed west of Soledar and set conditions for the encirclement of Soledar and Bakhmut. Considering the region’s topography, we can quickly understand that the most important settlement in this region is Yakovlivka. Yakovlivka is located on a hill above both Soledar and Bakhmut, so by breaching the Russian defense here, Ukrainians will open access to the Russian rear.

Recently released footage indicated that Ukrainians have already launched artillery preparation on this settlement. Russian forces understand the value of this village very well. That is why they are not saving resources in this direction and trying to eliminate the Ukrainian 10th and 109th Assault Brigades that are responsible for this region by any means, including extremely risky airstrikes. A Ukrainian fighter spotted one such Russian fighter jet in the middle of the mission and shot down the Russian fighter jet, saving dozens of soldiers from his detachment by preventing a devastating rocket strike.

Russian aviation remains a huge threat to Ukrainian soldiers, so supplies of air defense systems, including man-portable ones, change the situation on the ground tremendously.

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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