Day 512: Jul 20
Today there are a lot of updates from the east.
First of all, when it comes to the battle for Krasnohorivka, Russian forces started to realize that they had set for themselves a big trap by making the main focus of their attack the coal mine. The main problem that Russians are facing right now is that Ukrainians cut them off supplies and continue attacking with drones and shelling nonstop.
It was much easier for Ukrainians to hold their positions here because the coal mine is located 500 meters south of the settlement, which they could get to by moving along the tree line. Russian forces, in turn, have to expose themselves to drones and artillery for 2 reasons: the safest route is around 3 km, and there are not enough tree lines, which is why they still have to cross more than 1 km through the field.
The recently released combat footage shows that Russians lose half of their troops during rotation or reinforcement. Ukrainian forces saw that this situation was a perfect opportunity to use cluster munitions, so they established 24-hour control over this small section between the two tree lines. When Russians cross it, Ukrainians immediately fire at Russian troops. If Ukrainians did not manage to take out the whole squad with regular artillery and Russian forces dissipated, Ukrainians immediately followed up with cluster shells.
In total, based on the recently released additional combat footage, by attacking the coal mine, which was protected by several squads (which is 20-30 troops), Russian forces lost more than 10 tanks and armored fighting vehicles and lost around 150 men. As Russians continue to hold this position, the number of killed and wounded soldiers is dramatically increasing every day. It seems like Ukrainians are not in a hurry to make a counterattack – they are draining Russian reserves and waiting until the detachments responsible for this operation lose their combat capability.
In the meantime, more information became available about the successful missile strike on the Russian military base in Crimea. Today Planet Labs released satellite footage showing how the base looked like before and after the strike. As you can see, half of the base was completely wiped out. And this is exactly the half where Russians had barracks and warehouses – the western side was mostly used for parking. After seeing satellite footage, many analysts concluded that there was no chance for the soldiers on the ground to survive.
In response to successful Ukrainian strikes, Russian Air Force doubled down on their efforts to destroy Ukrainian harbors and eliminate the possibility of prolonging the grain deal. This time, the main target of the Russian strike became my hometown, Mykolaiv. Mykolaiv has a lot of harbors in the region that are used for international trade. Unfortunately, apart from harbors, multiple drones and missile hit residential areas. Some of them left huge craters in the yard, while others destroyed the buildings. In total, five residential houses received damage, and 19 people were injured and killed. Apart from Mykolaiv City, Russians also destroyed a residential house in Ochakiv and the building of local administration in Odesa.
That night Russians launched 19 missiles and 19 drones. Unfortunately, many rockets reached their destination. The spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force stated that Russians used a lot of Kh-22 and Oniks missiles, which Ukrainians cannot shoot down. Kh-22 missiles reach a speed of more than 4000 km per hour and use ballistic trajectory, which means that only Patriots can shoot them down, and there are obviously not so many Patriots to put them in every region. Oniks missiles, on the other hand, fly extremely low, which makes them extremely hard to detect.
In response to such developments, the White House announced that they would help with improving the security of the harbors by providing the means to deal effectively with Russian missile and drone strikes. Right now, it is not specified exactly what will be included in the next help package, but the only thing that could have prevented today’s strike, for example, is more Patriot systems.
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.