Day 503 marks a pivotal moment with numerous news from the southern front. Ukrainians executed a series of deadly strikes, deploying the most sophisticated weapons from their armory.
The first target was Tokmak, one of the largest prefrontal towns, consequently a significant logistical hub. It’s here that the Russians station thousands of soldiers and numerous ammunition depots, equipment warehouses, and command posts. Ukrainian forces conducted a HIMARS strike on Russian military bases situated on the northwestern outskirts of the town, near the former poultry farm. This strike resulted in severe damage to the Russian camp.
But it didn’t end there. As Russian forces were grappling with the aftermath, Ukrainians launched a second strike using longer-range multiple-launch rocket systems. The second strike proved even more devastating as Ukrainians used cluster munitions. These munitions are particularly hazardous as unexploded grenades can render the entire area perilous until fully demined. It was a cunning tactic, capitalizing on the Russian practice of using a high number of mobilized soldiers for cleanup post-strike, thereby multiplying the damage.
The second Ukrainian strike targeted Berdiansk, another major Russian logistical hub owing to its enormous harbor, strategic location between Melitopol and Mariupol, and vast industrial zones. Ukrainian forces launched multiple Storm Shadow missiles, aiming for the industrial area. Despite Russian air defense operators claiming they shot down nearly all the missiles, some reached their target, resulting in at least one military object’s destruction within the harbor territory.
Ukrainians also targeted and completely demolished the Diuna hotel, which served as the command post for the 58th Russian Army. This strike led to the elimination of the Russian deputy commander of the Southern Military District, general-lieutenant Oleg Tsokov, one of the most seasoned generals in the Russian army. Tsokov was not alone in the headquarters, and the strike likely took out other division and brigade commanders.
In another setback for the Russians, a few days prior, the Russian Army lost Captain Stanislav Rzhytskyi, who was shot during his morning jog. Ukrainian Intelligence reported an unknown person carried out the assassination, contradicting Russian sources’ claims that Ukrainian secret services conducted the hit.
Overall, Ukrainians have developed a devastating tactic by combining HIMARS and cluster munition strikes on Russian military camps and also conducted an effective series of Strom Shadow strikes. This has significantly decreased the number of capable Russian commanders.
The President of France, Macron, has given the green light for further deliveries of Storm Shadow missiles, indicating we will see more such strikes in the near future.
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.
- Cluster munitions will be next “game changer” against Russia, Ukraine Defense Minister hopes
- Ukrainian troops advance near Donetsk’s Bakhmut, liberating another square kilometer – military
- Ukraine liberates as much area in 5 weeks as Russia occupied in 6 months – ISW
- Ukraine liberates over 14 km² over the past week – General Staff