Day 653: Dec 08
Today’s biggest news is from the Kherson region, where Ukrainian military activities have begun posing a significant threat to Russian objectives.
In response, Russian forces have gathered and attempted to undercut Ukrainian forces from the southwest. Russian sources report that Ukrainians have conducted a series of offensive actions in the forest and have started building formidable defenses.
Ukrainian sources, however, claim that they had entrenched their positions long ago and that only recently Russians discovered Ukrainians were rapidly improving the captured trenches and fortifications, causing significant Russian concern.
Russian forces, finding it challenging to dislodge Ukrainian marines, decided to employ a new tactic. Based on geolocated footage, Russian forces attacked from the western edge of the forest, not under Ukrainian control, and attempted to advance toward the central part of the settlement. This maneuver aimed to slowly encircle Ukrainian marines in the forest, not to establish firm control over the area but to create a threat of encirclement from the southwest, hoping to force a Ukrainian retreat. If successful, Russians would gain control over crucial strong points in the forest and use them against Ukrainians.
The operation began with extensive bombardment, intending to force Ukrainians holding positions inside the settlement to flee back to the islands, thus opening the ground for the Russian attack.
Unfortunately for Russians, this strategy didn’t significantly change the situation because the settlement was quite narrow, around 350 meters, meaning Ukrainians didn’t need to maintain a permanent presence in the ruins.
Russian analysts believe that Ukrainians are located in the forest or dense tree areas immediately in front of and behind the settlement, constantly monitored by drones.
Therefore, when Russians launch an attack, Ukrainian drone pilots usually spot them on approach, and Ukrainian marines advance inside the settlement to confront Russian assault groups. This is why all engagements in this area are characterized as meeting engagements by both parties.
After the artillery preparation, as Russian forces began trying to enter the village, Ukrainians were already prepared to meet them. Footage shows Russians’ attempts to suppress Ukrainian fire were unsuccessful, followed by a failed attempt to change their positions. This resulted in heavy Russian casualties, with some soldiers seen fleeing the area.
Russian sources released a video showing a small group attempting to outflank Ukrainians with RPG fire, but to no avail.
Ukrainian fighters had previously released a video confirming tight control of the forest line by Ukrainian snipers, who were eliminating Russian reconnaissance units trying to identify Ukrainian firing points prior to the main attack.
Interestingly, geolocated footage of the last attack indicates that Russians did not receive the necessary fire support. Russian artillery crews encountered difficulties during the artillery preparation, as Ukrainians immediately initiated a counterbattery battle.
Footage from the Ukrainian side shows the successful destruction of several pieces of Russian equipment, likely forcing other units to relocate instead of supporting ground forces.
Moreover, today, the commander of the famous Madiar’s Birds Detachment posted a video showing his units demolishing multiple pieces of heavy equipment in the forest, prepared by Russians for the main assault.
The first armored fighting vehicle, spotted by a drone with a thermal camera shortly after parking, was promptly destroyed by Baba Yaga drones carrying at least three heavy mines.
Madiar stated that his units are using drones to mine areas from a distance, especially intersections, resulting in the immobilization of three more Russian armored fighting vehicles. Due to limited visibility, these vehicles failed to detect mines at corners and were easily trapped. As these vehicles could not be quickly evacuated, Ukrainians had ample time to send Baba Yagas to finish the job. Since these vehicles were loaded with ammunition for an assault, their detonation was powerful and destructive.
This morning, Ukrainian drone pilots noticed a new Russian armored fighting vehicle in the region. They were organizing an interception when the vehicle got stuck. As Madiar’s detachment sent a kamikaze drone, Ukrainian marines struck the vehicle with an ATGM, causing a powerful detonation.
Therefore, the Russian attack largely failed not only due to effective counterbattery fire and a dynamic defense structure but also because of the high efficiency of Ukrainian drone operators who detected and destroyed all Russian equipment prepared for the assault.
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.