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Frontline report: Ukrainians advance in Zaporizhzhia’s Prokopivka; wound Russian generals in precise Crimea strike on naval HQ

Ukraine secures critical grounds in Zaporizhzhia’s Prokopivka near Robotyne. The recent missile attack on Russia’s Crimea-based naval HQ injured two top generals, hinting at a well-orchestrated strategy to dismantle the adversarial command structure.
Two Russian general were reportedly injured in the Ukrainian missile strike on the Russian naval command center in occupied Sevastopol on 22 September 2023. Photo of the smoking Black Sea Fleet’s HQ in the background: Planet Labs.
Frontline report: Ukrainians advance in Zaporizhzhia’s Prokopivka; wound Russian generals in precise Crimea strike on naval HQ

Day 578: 24 September

Today, there are a lot of important updates from the southern line.

Map: Screenshot from the video.

First of all, more information became available about the Ukrainian attack on Novoprokopivka. As it turned out, the Ukrainian progress was more extensive than expected. Previously, based on the footage of the fighting, it was confirmed that Ukrainians managed to push Russians away from the northern edge of the settlement.

Map: Screenshot from the video.

However, recently released footage by the Russian side shows that Ukrainians also entered the village from the northeast. The footage is tragic because a Russian soldier managed to get in the rear and kill 2 Ukrainian soldiers. Ukrainian military-affiliated sources circulated this footage to make sure that Ukrainian soldiers learn from this mistake.

Screenshot from the video.

Nonetheless, the footage served as a testament that Ukrainians have significantly expanded control over the region. Last time, Russian artillery strikes on the northern part of the village confirmed that Ukrainians entered the first two streets from the north. By the way, the 2 Ukrainian soldiers from the video were located near these two buildings and were shooting toward the 3rd and 4th streets, where the Russians were.

But the fact that these two soldiers managed to get there means that Russians lost control over most, if not all, fields northeast of the settlement. First of all, it means that Russians no longer control the southern part of the small forest and the nearby tree line because this is where the Ukrainians came from. Secondly, Russians no longer control the tree lines behind the Ukrainians, otherwise, they would be shot from the back by snipers.

Map: Screenshot from the video.

It is important to note, that even though Russians no longer maintain a permanent presence in these areas, it doesn’t mean that Ukrainians established 100% control over them. However, it does mean that Ukrainians are capable of moving into these territories and conducting much deeper penetrations.

And if we look at the topographic map, we can see that this is the part of the village that is the most important from the tactical perspective. The elevation allows Ukrainians to be in better control of the enemy movement.

Map: Screenshot from the video.

Recently released footage by the Ukrainian snipers that operate in the vicinity of Novoprokopivka clearly demonstrates the advantage. As it can be seen, the Ukrainian sniper is looking down on the field from the hills and easily spots Russian soldiers that stick out of shelters 1,236 meters away.

Screenshot from the video.

In order to facilitate further and easier advancement of the Ukrainian assault units in this direction, Ukrainian HIMARS crews conducted an extensive strike on the Russian bases and command centers in Tokmak. Russian sources reported that the strike lasted for an hour and a half. Multiple strikes on the same targets are made to ensure that Russian forces that are conducting rescue also get liquidated. The number of troops liquidated in subsequent strikes is usually higher when the target of the strike is a command center because Russian soldiers are ordered to rescue the officers from under the rubble.

Satellite image of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet’s headquarters smoking in occupied Sevastopol after a Ukrainian attack on 22 September 2023. Image: Planet Labs

Speaking about the strikes on the Russian command centers, more information became available about the recent comprehensive strike on the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. As revealed by the satellite footage from Planet Labs, the missiles demolished the northern part of the building and hit right in the center of the western part of the building.

Damage to the Russian naval HQ in Sevastopol, occupied Crimea, inflicted by a Ukrainian missile attack on 22 September 2023. Image: Planet Labs

The Head of Ukrainian Intelligence reported that Ukrainians inflicted 25 losses on the Russian military personnel, including generals. More precisely, the head of the command center, lieutenant-general Oleg Tsekov, is in a coma, and, what is even more interesting, the commander of the Russian forces in the Zaporizhzhia region, colonel-general Alexandr Romanchuk is severely injured.

Operation Crab Trap: Ukrainian military gives some details on Sevastopol Russian Navy HQ attack

So, virtually simultaneous strikes on the Russian command centers from Tokmak and Melitopol to Sevastopol made sure that Ukrainians liquidated the whole chain of command – from low-level commanders located close to the contact line to medium-level in the middle, to high-level located in Sevastopol.

Map: Screenshot from the video.

This also explains why Ukrainians conducted the strikes during the day and not as usual at night. At first, it was surprising to see that the missiles were launched at noon, however, given that Ukrainians basically targeted offices, it is logical because everyone works in the office during the day.

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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