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Frontline report: Cluster munitions help Ukraine inflict “mindboggling” losses near Klishchiivka

After recent setbacks, Ukrainian forces have regained momentum in eastern Ukraine, launching successful attacks near Klishchiivka and Andriivka
Klischiivka Ukraine regained
Ukrainian forces clear village of Klischiivka in Ukraine’s east. Screenshot from video

Day 561. Today, there are a lot of significant developments in the east.

Here, Ukrainians finally regained momentum after the powerful Russian counterattack and started gaining ground.

ukrainian counteroffensive 2023
Location of powerful Russian counterattack in east Ukraine

If you still remember, Ukrainian progress has slowed down at the end of August because the Russian High Command understood that they made a mistake by firing major general Selivestrov, returned him to the front, gave him a lot of tanks, and ordered him to fix the collapsing flank.

Selivestrov tanks
Major general Selivestrov was ordered to fix the situation in Ukraine’s east with tanks. Screenshot from video

Even though Russians captured some ground, they failed to return control over any of the lost fortifications, so once the assault units got exhausted, Russians had no chance to retain their gains when Ukrainians launched a series of comprehensive attacks.

The first axis of Ukrainian advance became the forest above Klishchiivka. The main goal here was to cut off the Russian supply road from Bakhmut and secure the flank before launching a much broader attack in the southern part of the region.

Klischiivka ukrainian offensive
Ukraine’s assault on Klishchiivka. Screenshot from video

Combat footage released by the fighters from the 3rd Assault Brigade shows how Ukrainians were gradually moving through the forest. Based on the speech of the fighter who was filming the video, Russian forces retreated much earlier than Ukrainians expected.

After several more assaults, Ukrainians managed to establish fire control over the passage near the Ukrainian-destroyed bridge, and Russian forces in the northern part of Klishchiivka were cut off and trapped. That is why the next logical axis of advance became the village itself.

But firstly, while one group of Ukrainians were still going through the forest, the second group already started conducting artillery preparation. Russian sources reported that Ukrainians continued using cluster munitions extensively, inflicting substantial losses on Russian personnel.

Recently, Ukrainians fighters from the Liut Assault Brigade released a video showing how they simply hunted down Russian forces inside the village. The moment any group of Russians got out of their positions, they were hit with artillery and mortar fire precisely and instantaneously. The number of Russian troops destroyed within the day was mindboggling. And the Russian forces couldn’t do much because they were already trapped.

Soon, the completely demoralized and devastated remnants of the Russian forces were seen abandoning the village in plain sight.

Russians abandon Klishchiivka. Screenshot from video

Since the road was cut off by Ukrainians in the forest, most of them went hiding in the tree lines along the railways, hoping to be evacuated before being hit with artillery. This is when Ukrainians finally launched the clearing operation and finished everyone who refused to abandon the village together with the troops in the previous video.

After Ukrainians achieved all of their objectives to the north of Klishchiivka, they could finally start moving in their main direction – toward Andriivka. As you can see from the footage, the settlement itself is not an obstacle, especially as all houses have been reduced to ruins by now. The real obstacle is the Russian fortifications established right behind the railroad embankment, which are conveniently concealed by the dense tree belts and protected from the north by lakes.

Russians in Andriivka
Russians have a tactical advantage in Andriivka and the fortifications (red line) are protected by trees. Screenshot from video

As you already guessed, Russian forces are at a tactical advantage here, so just attacking them in front would not really work. That is why Ukrainians cleared Klishchiivka first – they planned to launch an attack toward the least protected areas of this fortification. Ukrainians also opened a supporting line of attack from the south, where Russian defense is also weaker.

But before launching the ground operation, Ukrainians concentrated their effort on undermining the Russian defense. The first thing they did was focus on destroying reinforcements. Ukrainian fighters from the 26th Artillery Brigade released a video showing how they were destroying Russian tanks in the region. In the meantime, Ukrainian drone operators focused on smaller and more mobile targets, especially those carrying personnel.

FPV drone ukraine strike
FPV drone eliminates Russian armored vehicle in the vicinity of Klishchiivka. Screenshot from video

Finally, Ukrainian Mortar Detachments focused on destroying Russian troops along the embankment itself. Once the preparation was finished, Ukrainians launched two attacks simultaneously and successfully breached the Russian defense on both sides. Russian sources reported that Ukrainians advanced along the tree belts and established new positions on the Russian side of the embankment.

Russian analysts concluded that Ukrainians are conducting a pincer movement in order to push Russians away from Andriivka without having stormed this powerful fortification on front. The fighting is still ongoing, and if Ukrainians manage to withstand the pressure, Russians will have to retreat within 48 hours.

Ukraine counteroffensive Andriivka
Russian analysts believe Ukraine is conducting a pincer movement on Andriivka. Screenshot from video

To witness this operation firsthand and discuss the next plans with the generals who are constantly busy on the front, the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, once again visited the Bakhmut direction. Apart from speaking to the commanders, the President also spoke to the fighters themselves. The fighters said that, as usual, they got a chance to communicate all their needs to ensure that the advancement continues.

In the end, the best fighters were rewarded with medals for their heroic actions on the battlefield. 


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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