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Frontline report: Ukrainians make strides in southern front’s Velyka Novosilka axis, outmaneuvering Russian defenses

Map: screenshot from the video.
Frontline report: Ukrainians make strides in southern front’s Velyka Novosilka axis, outmaneuvering Russian defenses

Ukrainian forces exploit topographic advantages, making progress in the Velyka Novosilka axis of the southern front, successfully advancing along ridges, and drawing Russian resources away from their main attack.

Day 500: Jul 08

Today there is a lot of good news from the Velyka Novosilka direction (on the southern front, – Ed.).

After conducting a successful flank attack and collapsing the Russian defense north of the gully, Ukrainians finally set conditions to make the next move – attack Pryiutne. If we look at the topographic map, we can see that Ukrainians not only secured the first elevated platform but also got toeholds on all three ridges of the next elevated platform. Advancing along the ridges instead of valleys allows to advance much easier, split enemy forces into small groups, and sometimes even force the enemy to abandon certain positions without a fight if these positions are in the lowlands.

According to Russian sources, for these purposes, Ukrainians were creating 2 assault groups – one near Makarivka and one near Levadne. Combining this knowledge with the topography, we can see that Ukrainians basically had three choices: attack along the ridge from Levadve, attack along the ridge from Novodarivka, and attack along the ridge from Makarivka.

Russian sources reported that Russian Air Force conducted several airstrikes in an attempt to undermine Ukrainian offensive capabilities, however, even Russian analysts concluded that the effectiveness of these strikes was likely low due to the fact that Ukrainians spread out their forces extremely thinly, minimizing the potential damage from the use of the most likely Russian weapon. And it turned out that this was true because shortly, the Ukrainian 35th and 128th Brigades finished regrouping and conducted their first assault.

The commanders of the assault units decided to advance along the broadest ridge and simultaneously assaulted Staromaiorske and the first Russian defenses on their way to Pryiutne. As expected, they faced tough resistance and started slowly reinforcing the assault groups. Russians understood that this was their best chance to hold the line because of the proximity to the main supply hubs, which is why they responded reciprocally and reinforced their defensive positions.

Unfortunately for Russians, this was not the main axis of advance. The goal of this series of assaults was to fix Russian troops and draw their resources away from the most unlikely direction – Novodarivka. Even though Ukrainians had a toehold on the ridge here, conducting an attack from here was still extremely complicated due to the small river and valleys around Russian positions. However, the element of surprise played a decisive role, and Ukrainians advanced by more than 3 km. Ukrainians immediately doubled down and opened the second axis of advance – from Levadne. This attack was also highly successful, Ukrainians advanced by around 3 km and entered the tree lines in from of the settlement.

Russians understood that they had very little time to push Ukrainians out before Ukrainians got entrenched, which is why their urgently relocated their tanks to this region and conducted a heavy mechanized counterattack. Unfortunately for Russians, the counterattack was unsuccessful, Russians lost their tanks and failed to recapture any positions. This combat footage was quickly geolocated, and it turned out that the battle took place just 500 meters north of Pryiutne. Right now, Ukrainian positions are 1 field away north of the settlement and half a field away west of the settlement. Russians once again found themselves in a tight salient, and it looks like they will abandon their positions due to the crossfire very soon.

The Ukrainian Chief of General Staff, Valerii Zaluzhnyi, stated that Ukrainian fighters are doing a great job and that so far, everything is going according to plan. Today General Zaluzhny celebrates his 50th birthday, which coincided with the 500th day of the war. As Zaluzhny concluded, at this point, even though fighting will continue to be extremely difficult, the Ukrainian Armed Forces will for sure not embarrass themselves because gradually but steadily, Ukrainians are successfully liberating their land.

In our daily frontline report, we pair up with the military blogger Reporting from Ukraine to keep you informed about what is happening on the battlefield in the Russo-Ukrainian war.

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