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Frontline report: Burning fields make mines visible, aiding Ukrainians to advance in Zaporizhzhia’s Tokmak direction

Burned fields are helping Ukrainians spot scattered mines more easily while gaining ground in a counteroffensive towards Novoprokopivka in the Tokmak direction, Zaporizhzhia Oblast.
Screenshot from the video: burnt fields and mines
Frontline report: Burning fields make mines visible, aiding Ukrainians to advance in Zaporizhzhia’s Tokmak direction

Day 566. Sep 12

As of 12 September, the biggest news comes from the Tokmak direction. After Ukrainian tank crews conducted an extensive series of raids on the Russian positions in front of Novoprokopivka, Ukrainians set perfect conditions for infantry attacks.

Screenshot from the video  

Recently released footage shows Ukrainian fighters entering the tree line and clearing positions. The tree line was still burning, which means that the infantry assault was either conducted immediately after a tank raid or after an intense artillery preparation.

Screenshot from the video

Such conditions are not rare because there are many Russian ammunition and mines in the tree lines, some of which detonate during the strikes.

Ukrainian fighters said that with the increased use of cluster shells, destroying enemy ammunition and causing fires in the tree lines became very easy.

On top of leaving the enemy with less ammunition, the burning ground helps Ukrainian assault units to identify scattered mines more easily.

The density of mines on the fields is insane, and demining equipment would not withstand so many explosions in one go. However, what Ukrainians found out is that when they attack through the burned field, the drivers of vehicles can just move around the mines because they can see them.

The mine clearing equipment, therefore, works as insurance in case some mines cannot be avoided. So, the use of cluster shells significantly improved the efficiency of infantry assaults not only by destroying ammunition but also by allowing Ukrainian assault units to get to their positions safely and much faster because Ukrainians can use armored cars with light demining equipment instead of T-64 tanks.

After the positions are taken, Ukrainians are demining the tree lines and the area around them. Ukrainians also recently created an improvised demining device with a remote control that specializes in demining light but tricky-to-find anti-personnel mines. All of that helped Ukrainians to deepen the bridgehead substantially.

As of 12 September, Russian sources reported that Ukrainians are already virtually on the outskirts of Novoprokopivka. After clearing all the fields and tree lines, there is only one field that separates Ukrainians from entering the village itself.

Screenshot from the video

Recently released footage by Russian soldiers confirms that those units that are operating north of Novoprokopivka are retreating. The retreating soldiers pass the destroyed Russian equipment and personnel right behind their positions.

The destroyed units were likely a reinforcement that never got to the contact line due to the Ukrainian artillery and drone fire. Less than 1 minute in, the retreating Russian soldiers were detected by a Ukrainian drone and suffered from artillery fire. The Russians tried to run, but their fate is unknown.

As the Ukrainian command saw that Ukrainians were gaining momentum and the bridgehead – and, therefore, the area of operation was increasing, the assault units were reinforced.

Russian sources confirmed that the front line shifted even more to the south and reported that Ukrainians moved in additional elements from the 71st Jagger Brigade toward Robotyne and elements from the Ukrainian Special Forces toward Verbove to ramp up the offensive operation.

To undermine Ukrainian plans and not allow fresh forces to reinforce the units on the contact line, Russian forces conducted a massive flank attack. The main area where Russians delivered the hit was between Novopokrovka and Verbove, and those fresh forces reportedly had to engage with Russians not where they expected.

Screenshot from the video

Russian sources reported that the goal was achieved, and the fresh Ukrainian troops were fixed and now are stuck defending the eastern flank instead of storming the southern line.

But Ukrainians breached the Russian defense in the south anyway.

Recently released geolocated footage shows how Russian artillery is shelling Ukrainian troops inside the newly captured Russian trenches right behind the passed dragon teeth.

As you can see, the situation remains difficult, but Ukrainian fighters are consistently getting closer to Tokmak.

In the meantime, in anticipation of the liberation of their land, Ukrainians who are living in the villages near Tokmak were seen launching a Ukrainian flag in the sky towards Ukrainian forces on the southern contact line.

Screenshot from the video

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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