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Frontline report: Russian forces seize control of coal mine, yet lose half of troops

Russian forces captured coal mines near Krasnohorivka, but at a heavy cost: after withdrawing, Ukrainians sent out heavy artillery fire, destroying half of the Russian manpower and reportedly half of tanks and armored vehicles. 
Screenshot from video
Frontline report: Russian forces seize control of coal mine, yet lose half of troops

Today, there is a lot of news from the east. Here, Russian forces have opened a completely new axis of advance and decided to attack territories they had failed to advance into for over 8 years. Krasnohorivka, a powerful stronghold located between Avdiivka and Marinka, has been prepared to withstand destructive frontal assaults like its sister strongholds. This is why the Russians had not attempted to attack it until today.

However, before they could attack the stronghold itself, the Russians needed to secure their flanks and eliminate all Ukrainian positions in the fields. Their first target of choice was a coal mine located 1 km south of Krasnohorivka. The coal mine, situated in the field, consists of 5 separate facilities with numerous trench networks strategically positioned to defend against potential attacks.

Screenshot from video

In order to breach this defense, the Russian forces relied heavily on the element of surprise. They refrained from conducting intense reconnaissance-in-force operations to prevent the Ukrainians from reinforcing this region. The initial wave of attack involved at least seven tanks and armored fighting vehicles. Judging from the water in the background, it appears that Russian forces advanced along the Lozova River, splitting into two groups and attacking the strong point from 2 sides.

Screenshot from video

The first group’s objective was to attack the Ukrainian flanks and divert attention away from the second group, which aimed to establish control over the largest facility. By gaining control over this well-fortified facility surrounded by trenches, the Russians hoped to render the Ukrainians unable to defend their position.

However, the Russian assault units faced intense artillery fire, and the coal mine facilities suffered severe damage, offering little cover for the advancing Russian forces. To compensate for their losses and fill the trenches, Russian forces had to reinforce the ground units with infantry, preventing the Ukrainians from exploiting the empty trenches.

Screenshot from video

As the Russians approached, the Ukrainians reduced the intensity of their artillery fire to avoid hitting their own troops. Observing the decrease in artillery support and facing another wave of Russian attacks, the Ukrainians withdrew to minimize losses. Capitalizing on this opportunity, Ukrainian artillery crews unleashed devastating fire.

Subsequently, Ukrainian drone operators were deployed with the main objective of targeting the exposed Russian forces in the trenches. Geolocated footage confirms that few Russians managed to escape the grenades raining down on them. Once the trenches were more or less cleared and the Russians sought shelter, Ukrainian drone operators could execute more sophisticated maneuvers, such as dropping grenades into the buildings’ openings.

Screenshot from video

Ultimately, Russian forces gained control over the coal mine facilities, but at a significant cost. Reportedly, they lost half of their tanks and armored fighting vehicles, which they had to withdraw mid-fight due to heavy shelling, opting to send in more infantry instead. Based on the pre-fight and post-fight footage, it can be estimated that the Russians employed around 120 troops and lost more than half of them as well.

It is unlikely that the Russians anticipated such substantial losses for several buildings, leading to doubts about their intention to proceed with an attack on Krasnohorivka. Therefore, the idea of unexpectedly attacking an area they had refrained from entering for years did not yield favorable results.

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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