Day 670: Dec 25
Today, the biggest news comes from the Adviivka direction.
Here, after almost two weeks of regrouping, Russian forces launched a new wave of attacks, and, according to Russian sources, Russian forces breached the Ukrainian defense in Stepove, established complete control over the village, and pushed Ukrainians all the way back to Berdychi.
Ukrainian sources denied these claims and stated that half of the village was under Ukrainian control while the other half was in the grey zone.
This grey zone is frequently entered by Russian assault units; however, no positions have been successfully established.
Ukrainian fighters from the 47th Brigade recently posted a video showing how they spotted one such assault unit that tried to hide in the basement.
Ukrainians sent a Bradley to the region and simply demolished the entrance to the basement, burying all Russians under the rubble.
Bradley vehicles have proved to be well-suited and effective on this front line.
Despite the challenging weather conditions, the abundant combat videos featuring it in offensive as well as defensive operations suggest that it has no problem getting to the contact line.
A Ukrainian drone filmed Stepove from above, showing the scale of destruction. As you can see, virtually every square meter has a shell crater, and the buildings are either severely damaged or completely leveled with the ground.
This makes it very difficult to understand how any party can claim control over the village or maintain a permanent presence inside. Closer footage showed that there are a lot of dugouts, holes, and trenches in the tree lines and in the village itself.
Usually, there is one big trench with at least one shelter, which is surrounded by a lot of dugouts, which allows to disperse when facing an attack, giving Russians less tactical freedom. These trenches in the grey zone are precisely where Russians are trying to establish their positions by sneaking in at night. As I showed you last time, Ukrainians are detecting them with thermal cameras and destroying them with mines.
That is why many of these holes are full of corpses, reducing the number of vacant holes and not allowing the new batches of Russians to find somewhere to hide. Moreover, Ukrainian fighters from the 47th Brigade reported that they recently received a new delivery of drones, so the Stepove area became even deadlier.
Nonetheless, Russians recently conducted a series of mechanized assaults. Judging by the fresh footage of burning equipment, Russian forces engaged at least four tanks and armored fighting vehicles in their attacks, so it seems like Russians continue using small columns to prevent early detection and massive losses.
And this tactic proved to be more successful because, this time, even though some vehicles were destroyed en route, some of them even managed to reach the outskirts of the village.
The outskirts were competely leveled with the ground, however, so the infantry had nowhere to hide and immediately ran toward the holes and trenches in the tree line.
Combat footage shows how Ukrainians are trying to meet and finish the remnants of the Russian assault units from Bradley machine guns. Ukrainian fighters in Avdiivka seem to be competing by showing the highest number of inflicted losses per 100 meters of the tree line in the aftermath of repelled attacks. The freshest updates suggest that one of the most recent Russian attacks resulted in 34 killed and two taken captive.
In order to support their offensive efforts, Russian forces had been conducting regular airstrikes on the Ukrainian positions, especially on the northern flank of Avdiivka.
The Ukrainian General Stuff reported that today, Ukrainians managed to shoot down two Russian fighter-bombers in the Donetsk region – one of them was dropping bombs on Avdiivka.
So, over the last three days, Russians lost five aircraft. Ukrainian analysts are expecting that the number of airstrikes in Avdiivka will decrease, just like we saw in the Kherson region.
It seems like Ukrainians finally learned how to counter Russian glided bombs, which are dropped around 50 km away from the front line. This is a tremendous achievement that has already forced Russians to cancel almost all of their planned strikes. Hopefully, this trend continues.
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.