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Frontline report: Ukrainian forces storm Russian barracks in night raid

Ukrainian soldiers used night vision, silencers, and grenades to kill dozens of sleeping Russian troops in a daring operation on the southern front.
Screenshot from a Reporting from Ukraine video.
Frontline report: Ukrainian forces storm Russian barracks in night raid

Day 632: 17 November 2023

Today, there are a lot of updates from the Tokmak direction of the southern front (Zaporizhzhia Oblast).

Tokmak direction of the southern front.
Screenshot from a Reporting from Ukraine video.

Here, Ukrainian forces continued conducting the counteroffensive operation and recently achieved significant results. The main goal of Ukrainians has changed since October, and currently, the first priority is to widen the bridgehead, not deepen it. The reason behind the bridgehead’s widening lies in the region’s topography. If we look at the topographic map, we can see that tactical heights surround the Ukrainian bridgehead.

Topographic map.
Screenshot from a Reporting from Ukraine video.

Establishing control over the highlands is imperative to simplify holding the ground, improve their logistical possibilities, and set conditions for future advancement southward. Since Russian forces launched their offensive operation in Avdiivka, the situation in this region became quite ambiguous because both Russians and Ukrainians had quite a lot of forces here, and whoever would be forced to relocate them first would suffer territory losses.

Screenshot from a Reporting from Ukraine video.

When it comes to Russians, instead of decreasing the number of troops on the contact line, they decided to relocate their reserves to Avdiivka. Without reserves, Russians virtually lost the ability to conduct rotation, and it was just a matter of time until the exhaustion accumulated beyond the breaking point. This decision ensured that Russians did not face any consequences immediately but set themselves up for a potential disaster in the medium to long term.

Screenshot from a Reporting from Ukraine video.

When it comes to Ukrainians, they did two things. First of all, they did relocate some detachments to Avdiivka almost immediately, which is why the tempo of the offensive operation suffered in the short term. However, the remaining detachments were left with reserves to continue conducting rotation.

Secondly, Ukrainians decided to compensate for that by deploying some of the most skilled artillery and drone crews because, in Avdiivka, Ukrainians needed a pure volume of artillery shells, while here, Ukrainians needed precision the most. A Ukrainian fighter from the twenty-fourth assault brigade reported that since skilled artillery and drone crews arrived in the region, the situation became quite interesting.

The first Ukrainian push happened north of Verbove. Russian sources reported that Ukrainian forces attacked Russian strong points north of Verbove and forced them to withdraw from the tactical heights. If we look at the topographic map, we can see that the Ukrainians set out to establish full control over this ridge.

Screenshot from a Reporting from Ukraine video.

Ukrainians already control the highest points in the region; the only difficulty right now is moving through the fields after rains. A Ukrainian analyst assessed the situation and concluded that the Russian airborne units would now have a much harder time defending Verbove as the village is located in the lowlands.

Screenshot from a Reporting from Ukraine video.

The second and the most significant Ukrainian breakthrough happened west of Robotyne. Here, Russian forces were controlling several extensive trench networks. The freshest updates suggest that Ukrainians opened at least five vectors of attack.

Russian sources published geolocated footage showing Russian forces striking Ukrainian positions immediately west of Robotyne, indicating that Ukrainians successfully advanced and took control over the remaining trenches on the highlands.

Moreover, the tree lines north and south of these fortifications were also taken by Ukrainians, as recent footage shows an engagement around one kilometer west of previous positions. But the biggest news is that Ukrainians conducted an insane night operation, sneaked into the underground barracks, and killed dozens of Russian soldiers.

Screenshot from a Reporting from Ukraine video.

After extremely graphic footage of the aftermath leaked into the media space, a Russian fighter posted a video with an explanation. He said that Ukrainians took advantage of the exhausted, understaffed, and underequipped Russian forces and conducted a night raid. He said that Russian soldiers did not have enough men on the watch, creating a lot of blind spots and risk. He also said that even those on the watch did not have night vision, while Ukrainians had.

Moreover, Ukrainians also operated with silencers. As a result, Ukrainians quietly took out the whole guard, got onto the territory of the base, got into the underground barracks, and opened fire from machine guns at the sleeping soldiers, then threw several grenades and escaped.

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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