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Frontline report: Small Ukrainian bridgehead in Kherson Oblast holds despite Russian attacks

Map: screenshot from the video.
Frontline report: Small Ukrainian bridgehead in Kherson Oblast holds despite Russian attacks

Fierce battles rage in Kherson Oblast near a small Ukrainian bridgehead next to occupied Oleshky town as Russian attackers face Ukrainian traps and resilient resistance.

Day 492: 30 June

Today fierce battles took place in Kherson Oblast near a small Ukrainian bridgehead across the Dnipro River near Oleshky.

After the disastrous Russian ground operation, where Russian airborne units suffered from friendly fire, Russian forces temporarily switched to distant methods of eliminating the Ukrainian bridgehead. Russian sources reported that Russian forces used incendiary munitions to burn the houses held by Ukrainians and then fired from heavy flamethrower systems TOS-1 to amplify the damage. However, in the morning, Russians discovered that Ukrainians not only maintained a presence in this region but also conducted a planned reinforcement and continued moving further.

Russian forces responded to these developments by organizing an even bigger ground assault. Russian sources reported that Russian airborne assault units used virtually all types of armored fighting vehicles to get their troops to the contact line and reduce the area of Ukrainian control. Unfortunately for Russians, Ukrainians used distant mining to scatter mines along the only road that Russians could use. Geolocated footage confirmed that Russians lost several pieces of equipment, barely crossing the bridge near Oleshky. Russian military-affiliated sources also reported that those units that managed to get to the zero line struggled to implement their plans due to the overwhelming artillery and mortar fire. The Ukrainian side of the river is steep and high, which makes it easier for Ukrainians to provide fire support and repel Russian attacks.

Russian analysts started suspecting that Russian forces were doing precisely what Ukrainians wanted them to do, which was launch suicidal assaults along the only road that is also mined just to push Ukrainians from under the bridge. Russian fighters also started expressing discontent and stated that the Russian command was wasting manpower to do the job that must be done with a missile strike. Coincidentally or not, later that day Russian Air Force launched an Iskander strike on the main Ukrainian fortification.

Many Russian sources promptly reported that Ukrainian positions were destroyed, and Ukrainians no longer held the strongest part of the region. In order to capture the rest of the territories and kill the remaining Ukrainian soldiers, Russian forces used boats to deploy to the region in order to avoid scattered mines along the road. Unfortunately for Russians, it was a Ukrainian trap. The moment Russians reached the beach and turned off the motor, Ukrainian drone operators started targeting Russian boats. Russian soldiers immediately jumped into the water because starting the engine takes time, and staying in the immobilized boat was sure death. The drones chased Russians closer to the beach, where Ukrainian infantry met and killed the Russian assault unit.

It turned out that there was a huge bunker under the bridge. Russian drone operator discovered that Ukrainians have an entrance to the underground facilities right near the bridge, so collapsing the bridge with the Iskander strike did not change the situation. In fact, Russian sources soon had to admit that the situation deteriorated. Not only did Ukrainians increase the bridgehead, but they also started attacking the Russian bridge near Oleshky with kamikaze boats. These attacks aimed to cut off the last chance that Russians had to exert any control over the island and also get on the doorstep of Oleshky. Kamikaze boats proved to be incapable of achieving such tasks.

However, Ukrainian did not stop here. According to various sources, the number of Ukrainians on the islands has gradually increased to up to 300 soldiers. Assaulting such a powerful group became even more challenging, so the number of Russian attacks decreased, and Ukrainians gained more freedom of movement in the region. After conducting intense drone reconnaissance and identifying Russian blind spots, Ukrainians started moving further. The latest reports indicate that Ukrainians somehow already got to the Russian side of the island. The drone footage shows how soldiers are carrying some cargo toward the bridge’s foundation. Russian analysts are raising the alarm that Ukrainians unexpectedly managed to mine the only Russian artery that supplied Russian positions on the island.

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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