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Frontline report: Russians employ new tactics in offensive on Ivanivske but retreat with heavy losses

Despite initial gains in their new offensive south of Ivanivske, Russian forces were pushed back to their starting point after failing to breach Ukrainian defenses, suffering heavy losses in manpower and equipment.
Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.
Frontline report: Russians employ new tactics in offensive on Ivanivske but retreat with heavy losses

Today’s news from the Bakhmut direction is particularly noteworthy, with significant developments occurring in the southern part of the region.

Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

Russian forces have completely altered their offensive plan, launching a new vector of attack and executing a series of powerful assaults south of Ivanivske. The sudden shift in strategy is attributed to two main reasons.

Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

Firstly, the village of Ivanivske has been decimated by Russian artillery and aviation, leaving no shelter and making it increasingly difficult for Russian forces to establish stable footholds. This has resulted in such heavy losses for the Russians that they had to pause their attacks for replenishment and regrouping, as reported by Ukrainian fighters.

Secondly, Ukrainian fighters have intensified the challenges for the Russians by establishing their main positions around the settlement and transforming it into a kill zone. The topographic map reveals a tactical elevation to the northwest of the village, granting Ukrainians the ability to observe and strike advancing Russian forces along the road. Despite previous attempts, Russian forces have been unable to assault Ukrainian positions on the hills, with Ukrainians successfully withstanding artillery strikes and intense infantry assaults.

Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

With their northern bypass of Ivanivske failing, Russian commanders have opted to attempt a southern bypass. Their primary objective is to reach the forest, establish a foothold, and sever Ukrainian supplies across the canal passage.

Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

If successful, Russian forces could expand their offensive by moving north through the forest, gradually approaching the hills. This would enable them to cut off the supply road and seize positions behind Ukrainian lines, potentially trapping Ukrainian forces on the hill and in the village, thereby gaining control of the rest of the village and advancing towards the main stronghold.

Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

The initial Russian attacks targeted Ukrainian positions in the tree lines south of the village, with mechanized assaults driving through the southern street and attacking from the north. Infantry assaults across the fields also seem to have been conducted. Initially, Russians made some progress, advancing up to two kilometers south of the village. However, their progress stalled upon approaching the forest, and Ukrainian forces regained the initiative.

Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

Russians appeared to overextend themselves, struggling to accumulate forces in sparse positions across the fields while attacking densely located Ukrainian positions in the forest.

The 93rd Mechanize Brigade released footage showing concentrated drone raids on Russian positions in the fields, complicating Russian accumulation efforts. These strikes, combined with Ukrainian ground operations, led to the collapse of the front line, with Ukrainians repelling the Russian flank attack and pushing them back to their starting point. Ukrainian soldiers reported that all Russian assaults ultimately failed, resulting in heavy Russian losses in manpower and equipment.

Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

Overall, Russian forces underestimated the density of Ukrainian fortifications southwest of Ivanivske and failed to envelop the village from the south partially. The inability to supply attacking forces through the death zone led to the offensive effort’s rapid culmination and the collapse of the bridgehead. Moreover, Russian forces aimed to reach Chasiv Yar by early spring, sustaining higher-than-necessary losses due to the commanders’ desire for new ranks and medals before the elections. However, this ambition has only degraded the most capable Russian assault units.

Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

With spring approaching and the soil becoming muddy, Russian mechanized attacks through the fields will be challenging and deadly. This gives Ukrainians time to reinforce this direction and continue building fortified defense lines in and behind the town until the Russians devise a new plan for renewed offensive efforts. This is especially significant in light of recent strategic developments along the border.

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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