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Frontline report: Ukrainian Forces destroyed 18 Russian tanks in Donetsk Oblast

On 12 Nov, Russia conducted a series of unexpected attacks between Mykilske and Novomykhaylivka, Donetsk Oblast. However, they didn’t succeed, losing up to 40 pieces of equipment.
Screenshot from the Reporting From Ukraine video.
Frontline report: Ukrainian Forces destroyed 18 Russian tanks in Donetsk Oblast

Day 627

On 12 November, there are a lot of updates from the Vuhledar direction. Russian forces conducted a series of unexpected powerful attacks between Mykilske and Novomykhaylivka, engaging dozens of tanks and armoured fighting vehicles.

The goal of these attacks was to eliminate the Ukrainian bridgehead. The reason behind the choice of these particular vectors of attack is twofold.

First of all, the Ukrainian bridgehead is located on the tactical heights, making it difficult to attack directly. And secondly, these fields are densely mined and due to the lack of activity in the area, Russians do not have a good map of mines.

Screenshot from the Reporting From Ukraine video.

In contrast, the activity around Vuhledar and Novomykhaylivka was quite high over the last year, giving Russians at least some level of certainty as to where to move and what to expect.

The first attack took place northeast of Mykilske. The objective of the Russian assault unit was to push Ukrainians out of the proximate tree lines, establish control over the fields, and move closer to the road.

Screenshot from the Reporting From Ukraine video.

Mykilske is too small and too close to the front line to hide significant amounts of force, which is why the assault unit was sent from the south and had to travel through the open fields.

Ukrainian reconnaissance drone operators detected a huge Russian column in advance, and thanks to the rapid response by the fighters from the seventy-second mechanized brigade, Russians lost the element of surprise and started incurring losses before they even passed Mykilske.

Geolocated footage shows that Ukrainians destroyed the third vehicle from the head of the column, immobilizing the remaining vehicles behind it. One vehicle even turned around and started moving back to the settlement.

However, Ukrainian fighters did not allow them to leave the battleground and they were destroyed with artillery. Two vehicles from the head realized that they were moving alone into the field, turned around, and started fleeing as well. The video also shows that an armoured fighting vehicle closer to the middle of the column got stuck, causing the approaching tanks behind it to concentrate in a very small area. Ukrainians opened devastating fire, and the Russian tanks started exploding one by one. As a result, the whole assault unit was demolished, and Russians lost at least 18 tanks and armoured fighting vehicles, never leaving the settlement.

The area around the destroyed farm is within the administrative borders of Mykilske. Nonetheless, Russian forces did not accept the defeat and started preparing the second assault unit for the same attack. Two days later, the Russians finally made a new attempt to penetrate the front line.

Since the setting remained the same, Ukrainians once again detected Russians before they even passed Mykilske and started shelling Russians intensely. As a result, the Russian assault unit lost its combat capability, never getting to storm Ukrainian trenches and fortifications along the tree lines.

Some Russian sources claimed that the Russian infantry continued the assault and managed to entrench in the tree lines around 100 or 200 meters from the settlement, what was previously considered a grey zone.

Virtually simultaneously, Russian forces opened the second vector of attack near Novomykhaylivka. Here, Russian forces advanced along the gully, also in an attempt to get as close to the road as possible and cut off the Ukrainian bridgehead from the north.

Screenshot from the Reporting From Ukraine video.

By advancing in the lowlands, Russians were leveraging the terrain to reduce the chance of being detected for as long as possible. This way, Russians managed to pass more than 1 km behind the front line.

Still, the assault unit was detected by Ukrainian drone operators equipped with night vision. The artillery did not fire as quickly. Some analysts claimed that the drone operator knew that Russians were approaching a minefield and waited until they immobilized themselves. The first vehicle suffered an explosion on mine, and a few seconds later, the next one as well. Immediately after that, Ukrainian artillery started shelling the assault unit. As a result, it was completely demolished, and all four vehicles were left destroyed in the field.

Overall, the unexpected Russian attempt to create a salient and slice off powerful Ukrainian positions on the high ground did not succeed, and Russians lost up to 40 pieces of equipment.

Screenshot from the Reporting From Ukraine video.

Ukrainian fighters from the seventy-second mechanized brigade did not give a chance to change the status quo and yet again ensured the stability of the region by tightly controlling the air and ground.

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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