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Frontline report: Russian troops increase pressure west of Bakhmut

The Russian command increase pressure in the direction of Ivanivske village despite mounting losses. They are likely anticipating that taking it would collapse the Ukrainian southern flank.
FPV drones destroyed Russian equipment near Kurdiumivka and Andriyivka during the recent Russian assaults. Video by the 93rd brigade via Frontline Report
Frontline report: Russian troops increase pressure west of Bakhmut

Most of the news comes from the southern flank of the Bakhmut direction, where Ukrainians repelled several Russian attacks. Multiple videos emerged of Russian armor, supply vehicles, and ground troops being hunted down by FPV drone operators, anti-tank guided missiles, or even snipers.

Ukrainian drone operators from the 93rd Mechanized Brigade distinguished themselves the most. One of the videos recorded near Kurdiumivka and Andriyivka shows two Russian BMPs, two infantry fighting vehicles, and one BTR-82 armored transport being detected and subsequently destroyed by an FPV drone. One T-90 tank was detected and struck by Ukrainian anti-tank operators of the Third Border Guards Detachment.

The Bakhmut southern flank, where Russians have increased pressure. Map by Reporting from Ukraine

Several vehicles carrying ammunition and personnel were also destroyed while passing to Kurdiumivka, likely on their way to Bakhmut. This clearly shows that Ukrainians established firm fire control of the supply road, implying that Russian logistical capabilities are limited here.

Ukrainian drone operators fly as far as Bakhmut itself. One combat video shows a supply vehicle with ammunition being destroyed in a catastrophic explosion caused by a drone. A pile of mines with various ammunition was also detected and destroyed by drone operators near Kurdiumivka.

A rare video of a Ukrainian sniper was published as well, showing the demise of two Russian soldiers. Overall, Ukrainians are holding on to Klishchiyivka, and there are no signs of Russians taking it anytime soon.

Based on the extensive combat footage, it seems like Ukrainians are trying to undermine the Russian offensive effort on Ivanivske by increasing the intensity of their strikes on Russian equipment moving along the main grounds of communication. Nonetheless, Russian forces maintain the tempo of their offensive effort regardless of the death toll and equipment losses.

The direction of Russian current assault on Ivanivske. Map by Reporting from Ukraine.

Earlier, Russians managed to gain ground to the east of Ivanivske and claimed to launch assaults to the north of Ivanivske. After intense assaults that included storming of well-fortified Ukrainian positions, Russians managed to generate small gains to the south of the forest and advance to Ivanivske from the north. However, Ukrainians still firmly hold most of the tactical elevations in the area, which leaves Russians no chance but to fight their way through, while Ukrainians can launch counter-attacks on their exposed flanks. Russians understand this, and in an attempt to fix Ukrainian troops, they are shelling the Ukrainian positions at the elevation to the northwest of Ivanivske.

Russian military sources had reported earlier that Russian forces managed to break Ukrainian defenses to the east of the village and enter it. This was later confirmed by Ukrainian sources and fighters in the area. Russians launched intense artillery preparations, including TOS-One thermobaric artillery, to strike Ukrainian positions to make the assault easier. TOS-One is a destructive system whose thermobaric capabilities suck out the air in the area around the impact, making them far more deadly than ordinary artillery systems.

After artillery preparations, the Russians launched large armored assaults towards Ivanivske, which managed to enter the village from the east and the south. However, this came at a heavy cost, with dozens of armored vehicles getting destroyed on the approaches to the village by FPV drone operators of the SIGNUM drone detachment. Among the destroyed armored vehicles were at least three BMP-3s, one BMP-2, one BTR-82, and many, many more unrecognizable wrecks of destroyed columns.

Russian forces were so numerous that Ukrainians had to deploy several drones at the same time to destroy the vehicles in the eastern part of the village. Ukrainian fighters in Ivanivske were reported to have engaged and destroyed a group of Russian forces that entered the center of the village and restricted them to its eastern edges.

Confirmed Russian advances around Ivanivske. Map by Reporting from Ukraine.

During the attack on Ivanivske, Russians launched one of the attacks from the tactical elevations north of Klishchiyivka, implying that Russians are not planning to use their advantage of tactical heights to continue advances towards Klishchiyivka but rather use them to support the attacks on Ivanivske. The Russian command likely proceeds to push in this particular direction, anticipating that taking Ivanivske will collapse the whole southern flank.

In the forest to the north of Ivanivske near Chasiv Yar, the Russians did not make any notable progress because of the large focus on taking Ivanivske. This can also be attributed to increased Ukrainian efforts at launching strikes on Russian supply vehicles on the road to Ivanivske and their armored attack formations, which are being destroyed across a wide area from the Horlivka-Bakhmut highway to the northern flank.

These losses resulted in the Russians taking time to organize and supply their attack formations, which could further delay their attacks and buy more time for the Ukrainian defenders. Overall, Russians are trying to accelerate their advances at the expense of higher losses in equipment and manpower to fulfill their objectives before the presidential elections in March. The negative effects of a politically driven approach to warfare coupled with complex terrain configuration will give Ukrainians an advantage in bleeding out the enemy and gaining an opportunity to strike back.

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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