Day 636: Nov 21
Today, there are a lot of updates from the Avdiivka direction.
Here, Ukrainian forces took advantage of the decreased intensity of Russian attacks due to regrouping and conducted a successful counterattack.
Over the last several weeks, the main vector of the Russian attack was toward Stepove. Russian forces made dozens of attempts to cross the rails and establish control over the village, however, Ukrainian fighters from the forty-seventh brigade held the region tightly, and the furthest Russians managed to advance was just the first 3 houses on the outskirts, located less than 250 meters from the Russian positions in the tree lines.
Russians realized that they did not have enough leverage to apply the necessary pressure on the Ukrainian defense to move forward, which is why they developed a new plan. The main idea was to expand control over the tree lines along the railways and capture the fields northwest of Krasnohorivka. The reason behind changing their focus to this particular region was twofold. First of all, by establishing control over additional dense tree belts, Russians would acquire more convenient positions for accumulating forces. Secondly, after accumulating even more forces than previously, Russians would be able to attack Stepove not from 2 but from 3 sides, undermining the stability of the Ukrainian defense.
Soon, Russian forces launched their attacks and started clearing the tree lines in the fields. Ukrainian fighters from the Thirty-first Mechanized Brigade released combat footage showing how they were attacking Russians in the trenches right in front of the railways. This was the railway line north of Krasnohovika, so the video confirms that Russians managed to reach it.
Ukrainians understood that the next logical step would be to attack the dense tree belts north of Stepove. Simultaneously, Ukrainians noticed a decrease in the overall intensity of attacks. So, even though the fights in this particular area were tough, there were much fewer attacks down the contact line because Russians were regrouping in preparation to deploy fresh units for the new wave of attacks.
Ukrainians understood that Russians lacked forces on the contact line, and given significant usage of forces in the northern part, it was obvious that the central part was understaffed and weak.
So, instead of counterattacking the Russians, where they concentrated their troops, the Ukrainians attacked them right in front of Stepove.
Ukrainian fighters from the forty-seventh brigade, who are responsible for this region, showed artillery preparation with cluster shells.
After that, the Ukrainians unleashed their kamikaze drones to eliminate the survivors. As you can see, some of the trench networks are in the open with no shelters, leaving Russians no chance to hide from drone attacks. Many of them just ran away from desperation, understanding that Ukrainians would take full advantage of their helpless situation.
After artillery and drone preparation was completed, Ukrainians launched a mechanized assault. Ukrainian opened fire from Bradley to suppress enemy fire and conducted a successful landing. The infantry quickly moved to the tree line and started storming Russian positions. As a result, the remnants of the Russian forces were eliminated, and Ukrainians established control over the rails. Another video shows how Ukrainians are collecting guns and other equipment from the fallen Russian soldiers. The tree belts were eventually completely cleared, and Ukrainians started moving further.
The successful Ukrainian counterattack took an important section of the front line, without which Russians cannot attack Stepove. Moreover, due to the fragility of their situation, Russians had to put on hold their plans to attack the northern section of the front line. Ukrainians are expecting a Russian counterattack and are already preparing additional trenches and fortifications to face the attackers.
If Russians linger with the counterattack for too long, and Ukrainians manage to recapture the main strongpoint in the region located on the intersection of tree lines, then Ukrainians will completely negate Russian tactical gains that they tried to achieve for more than one month.
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.