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Frontline report: Ukrainian Forces halt Russian advance near Avdiivka, battle for strategic city Kostyantynivka

Russian forces suffered significant losses in their attempts to outflank Ukrainian defenses near Avdiivka, with geolocated footage revealing the destruction of at least two D-30 howitzers, three MSTA-S self-propelled guns, a Grad-21 multiple rocket launcher, and a T-90M tank.
Screenshot from Reporting from Ukraine video
Frontline report: Ukrainian Forces halt Russian advance near Avdiivka, battle for strategic city Kostyantynivka

Day 794: 26 April

On 26 April, there are a lot of developments in the Avdiivka direction. Here, Russians are attempting to outflank the Ukrainian defenses to the north, while Ukrainians launched countermeasures to undermine the Russian offensive.

Screenshot from Reporting from Ukraine video

On the northern flank of Avdiivka, Russians are simultaneously attempting to advance towards the west and to the north. The long-term strategic goal of Russians to the North is to advance toward the Ukrainian city of Kostyantynivka, linking up with their offensive operation near Chasiv-Yar. The main idea of this operation is to take the Ukrainian forces in New York and Toretsk into a pocket.

If we look at the topographic map, we can see that in attacking Kostyantynivka from the south, the Russians must first take control over several hill ridges, all under Ukrainian control.

Screenshot from Reporting from Ukraine video

The eastmost hills are the first important step for Russians to take, as they allow Ukrainians to make constant flanking attacks on any possible Russian offensive north. As such, Ukrainians have established multiple strong fortifications on the heights and in multiple settlements around New York.

Screenshot from Reporting from Ukraine video

Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, Russians have been unable to break through these Ukrainian defenses. Therefore, Russians are attempting to bypass these fortifications by outflanking Ukrainians from the West. But before Russians attempt such a large-scale flanking operation, they must first take control of the Ukrainian settlement of Novokalynove.

Screenshot from Reporting from Ukraine video

Novokalynove is of high tactical and operational value for the Russians and Ukrainians, as it is situated at the source of the Kalynivka River, linking the two heights together. As such, it severely threatens the Russian spearhead north by forcing the Russians to allocate forces to defend themselves from possible Ukrainian counterattacks.

During the preparation stages of the Russian spearhead towards Ocheretyne, Russian forces also used artillery and FAB-500 glide bombs to bomb Ukrainian positions in Novokalynove. Ukrainians responded by performing counter-battery operations with artillery and FPV-kamikaze drones.

A video released by the Ukrainian 47th Mechanized Brigade shows the destruction of 2 Russian D-30 howitzers. Another video released by the 109th Territorial Defense Brigade shows them engaging and destroying 3 Russian MSTA-S self-propelled guns and a Grad-21 multiple rocket launcher system. Further released geolocated footage also shows Ukrainians intercepting one Russian T-90M tank on its way to resupply after an indirect fire mission.

This shows the effect of Ukrainian counterbattery operations, as Russians were forced to use their tanks as artillery guns to compensate for their destroyed artillery.

After intense Russian artillery barrages and air strikes, Russian forces launched multiple waves of attacks on the settlement.

Ukrainian sources reported that Russians had infiltrated the settlement with groups of 5 to 6 soldiers at a time to delay detection and provide a smaller target for Ukrainian artillery.

Screenshot from Reporting from Ukraine video

Russians managed to quickly take control of the dairy farm and advance along multiple tree lines around the settlement.

Geolocated footage shows that the fighting here was very intense. One video shows Ukrainian cluster munitions hitting Russian assault groups in the forest while simultaneously, Russian FAB glide bombs hit Ukrainian positions further down the line.

To stop the Russian advance, Ukrainian forces quickly performed counterattacks on the Russian assault groups and started destroying them with FPV kamikaze drones.

Ukrainian drone operators shared geolocated footage of them engaging Russian assault groups in the dairy farm, as well as occupied houses on the outskirts of the settlement.

Ukrainian soldiers of the 47th mechanized brigade also shared footage of counterattacks with Bradley infantry fighting vehicles east of the settlement. The video shows how the Ukrainian Bradley first drives up to the Russian positions in the tree line. The Bradley then lays down suppressive fire while a Ukrainian assault group dismounts make their way into the trenches, and clears out the Russian attackers.

Ukrainian fighters also shared footage of another counterattack south of the settlement. Here, Ukrainians used a tank and a Western armored vehicle to drop off and support another assault on Russian infantry in the tree lines.

Ukrainians realized that Russians would continue to execute these costly pure-infantry attacks on the settlement, no matter the cost. Therefore, Ukrainians focused on disrupting Russian logistics and destroying their reinforcements.

Screenshot from Reporting from Ukraine video

Geolocated footage shows drone operators of the 56th motorized brigade destroying Russian forces accumulations with FPV drones, hiding in the trenches, houses, and shelters in and around the settlement.

The 24th mechanized brigade released footage of them destroying a cluster of Russian transport vehicles with a single FPV drone. These fighters also showed a video of them destroying multiple Russian transport trucks with drone-dropped grenades.

Geolocated footage released by the 109th Territorial Defense Brigade also shows FPV kamikaze drones engaging multiple Russian transport trucks filled with infantry.

Ukrainian operators also identified and destroyed a Russian command post with HIMARS, killing the local brigade commander along with a significant number of other service members. The facility served as a temporary stop, from where units would be deployed and distributed across the front line; as such, it would be filled with infantry ready to be deployed to the frontline.

The Institute for the Study of War even reported that Ukrainian forces were using their glide bombs to strike Russian reinforcements near Krasnohorivka on their way to Ocheretyne.

Overall, Russians have severely sped up their offensive efforts in the face of the quickly closing window of opportunity to take advantage of Ukraine’s resource shortages.

However, as the United States Department of Defense stated, the first aid for Ukraine should be delivered as early as next week.

Fresh supplies of artillery shells should allow Ukrainians to prevent further advancement of Russian forces. In contrast, fresh armored vehicles should allow Ukrainians to conduct counterattacks on the Russian flanks.

Screenshot from Reporting from Ukraine video

As seen in the released footage, the effective utilization of strikes on Russian logistics substantially helped mitigate the problem and buy more time for the arrival of the approved aid.

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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