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Frontline report: Russian forces regroup but face setbacks in renewed Kupiansk offensive near Synkivka

Renewing failed Kupiansk offensive, Russian troops attacked Synkivka village but underestimated Ukrainian forest defenses, suffering setbacks with only marginal territorial gains.
Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.
Frontline report: Russian forces regroup but face setbacks in renewed Kupiansk offensive near Synkivka

Day 754: Mar 18

Today, there are a lot of different updates from the Kupiansk direction, in Kharkiv and Luhansk oblasts.

Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

Here, intense clashes suddenly broke out south of the forest. As it turned out, Russian forces finished regrouping and decided to initiate a renewed wave of attacks on Synkivka.

Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

The village of Synkivka is the key to unlocking the operational space and allowing for the Russian advancement north of Kupiansk, so the precipitation of the pace of the offensive operation here is not surprising. What is surprising is that Russians launched this wave of attacks without adequately setting the stage for a successful campaign.

Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

As you remember, Russian forces have already tried to take Synkivka through straightforward frontal assaults. Even though they did enjoy some levels of success at the beginning of the undertaking, Ukrainian counterattacks not only reclaimed any lost footing in the village but also drove Russian forces back into the cover of the forest. That was the main reason why Russians tried to rethink their approach, which even seemed to result in significant tactical adjustments. As noted by many military analysts, these adjustments happened in the forest. Russians tried to expand their control over at least a portion of the forest in front of the settlement in order to eliminate the possibility of Ukrainian flank maneuvers and broaden the range of assault angles that they could create. That is why, up until now, intense clashes have taken place in the forest.

Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

Despite some Russian claims of incremental gains within the forest, these were not broadly corroborated. Logically, if Russians indeed advanced deeper into the forest, then they would open new vectors of attack. However, evidence from geolocated footage indicated that recent Russian offensives targeted the same areas as before. This serves as a direct confirmation of the fact that Ukrainians in the forest managed to withstand Russian assaults by utilizing the forest’s natural barriers against mechanized assaults and traps and mines against infantry assaults. The successful Ukrainian defensive operation in the forest left Russians with no choice but to resort to costly assaults across mine-laden territories toward Ukrainian defensive positions.

According to Kharkiv Military Administration Head Oleh Synehubov, Russian forces conducted a series of mechanized advances using MT-LB armored fighting vehicles instead of tanks. Some Russian sources reported that after two days of non-stop fighting, Russian forces managed to establish control over several Ukrainian trenches in front of the village. Geolocated images show several assaults that confirm these marginal advances in the northeastern part of the stronghold.

Moreover, recent reports from Russian outlets suggest a surge in partisan activities aimed at disrupting Ukrainian logistics through sabotage in at least five villages northwest and southwest of Kupiansk.

Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

These actions seem to be an attempt to amplify the effects of the fresh military assaults and to derange the Ukrainian logistics.

As a result of all these recent Russian efforts, different sources from both sides finally confirmed that Russian forces regained control of a trench area between Synkivka and the forest. Geolocated night vision images released by the Ukrainian Thirtieth Mechanized Brigade show artillery targeting these newly secured Russian positions. These trench positions appear to be in a small isolated tree grove northwest of Synkivka, about six hundred meters from the edge of the forest.

Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

Another striking video shows how incredibly close the Russian and Ukrainian positions are. The footage shows the shocking moment when two Russian soldiers leave their positions in a suicidal attempt to storm the Ukrainian positions located just meters away.

Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

Unfortunately for the Russians, a Ukrainian reconnaissance drone just happens to be recording the attempt. The drone operator tracks the Russian soldiers in their race and has time to warn the Ukrainian side, which manages to finish off the attackers in their approach. The images prove the utmost importance of being alert at all times, particularly with such close enemy positions, and the vital importance of drones in this war, not only in offensive actions but also in defensive roles.

Additional footage shows Ukrainian counterbattery fire in action. Russian forces initiate artillery preparation prior to the assaults, revealing their position.

Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

Moments later, the video shows an MSTA-S howitzer being hit by Ukrainian counterbattery fire. The latest footage indicates Ukrainian FPV drone operators’ efforts to hit as far as Lyman Pershyi, the most significant Russian base in the area. The images show an attack on a Russian drone operator’s base in the settlement.

Overall, Russian forces showed no significant improvements as a result of their adjustment efforts in the woods. Due to the fact that they failed to broaden the range of assault angles, Russian forces resorted to highly attritional tactics by building up forces along the contact line and then using them to achieve marginal advances. Ukrainian forces remain vigilant and commit many drone and artillery resources to wipe out these Russian accumulations and undermine the Russian offensive efforts.

Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

By the way, one of the reasons why the Russian offensives in the Kupiansk direction became less successful is that Ukrainians forced Russians to relocate some troops to save other fronts.

Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

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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