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Frontline report: Ukraine unleashes intense drone strikes, decimating Russian breakthrough near Ocheretyne

In a devastating blow to Russian forces near Okheretyne, Ukrainian drone operators unleashed an intense barrage of FPV kamikaze drones, destroying over 50 Russian personnel in a 100-meter tree line and collapsing buildings used as shelters.
frontline report 4th Avdiivka
Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video
Frontline report: Ukraine unleashes intense drone strikes, decimating Russian breakthrough near Ocheretyne

Day 820: 23 May

On 23 May, there were many developments in the Avdiivka direction. Here, Ukrainians haven’t halted the Russian breakthrough and commenced counterattacks to regain lost positions. The main Russian objective to the west of Avdiivka is to take control over the Ukrainian City and headquarters of Pokrovsk.

frontline report 1st Avdiivka
Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video

Ukrainians have established numerous defensive lines to defend the city. As Russians had taken huge losses in attacking the Ukrainian lines head-on, they attempted to utilize their breakthrough near Ocheretyne to outflank the Ukrainian defenses and collapse the front line. Over the past month, Russian forces have leveraged their breakthrough near Ocheretyne to take control over as many settlements as possible.

frontline report 2nd Avdiivka
Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video

Ukrainians initially still suffering from a significant shortage of artillery shells, utilized intense drone strikes to hold the Russian momentum. At the same time the Russian offensive effort near Chasiv Yar and Kharkiv limited the Russian ability to reinforce their losses in the salient adequately. With insufficient reinforcements and a high rate of losses, the Russian offensive is quickly stolen.

Despite their quickly draining combat capabilities, Russians continue to attempt localized attacks to improve their tactical situation and consolidate their gains. In particular, Russians tried to increase their buffer zone Southwest of Ocheretyne by attacking the settlements of Sokil and Novopokrovske.

frontline report 3rd Avdiivka
Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video

Towards Novopokrovske, Russian infantry assault groups advanced through the tree lines with the support of numerous tanks. Drone operators from the 47th Mechanized Brigade released geolocated footage of a Russian assault consisting of two armored personnel carriers and a T-90m tank. Interestingly, the Russian tank was not leading the assault group and was instead held back for support.

The first armored personnel carrier then promptly drove over an anti-tank mine and was destroyed on impact. Russian infantry on the second armored transport then quickly dismounted and attempted to take cover while Ukrainian artillery opened fire on their positions. The Russian assault quickly devolved into chaos as the supporting tank turned around to escape from the Ukrainian artillery barrage. During its retreat, the tank was hit by an FPV drone, disabling it as the crew fled to safety. Footage from a second observation drone shows how another Russian tank was sent into the settlement to support the Russian infantry. An FPV drone also hit this tank but left the settlement, which was later abandoned. Astonishingly, Russians sent a think tank into the village, which also quickly turned around as soon as Ukrainian artillery shells started exploding near it.

Ukrainian drone operators later shared footage of how they finished off both disabled Russian tanks with FPV kamikaze drones. The Russian attacks towards Sokil went similarly: Russian assault groups transported by armored personnel carriers attacked the settlement of Sokil. The armored transports drove over mines, whereafter, the Infantry dismounted and were engaged by Ukrainian artillery. However, here, Russian assault groups managed to take up positions in the clearing halfway down the road. Another failed Russian assault was halted halfway, but this time with an FPV kamikadze drone. Ukrainian artillery crews then opened fire on the Romanian Russian infantry with cluster munitions. Ukrainians also deployed a Bradley infantry fighting vehicle to finish off the Russian vehicle together with the Infantry.

After the attacks, Ukrainians decided to degrade the Russian infantry in their newly established positions and the settlements themselves. Geolocated footage shows how Ukrainian drone operators intensely targeted Russian infantry with FPV kamikadze drones during the day and drones dropped grenades at night. Ukrainians also detected a large group of Infantry moving into one of the houses to take shelter there.

Ukrainians later detected many more of these shelters and equipped their FPV drones with heavy explosives to effectively collapse and destroy these buildings. Besides destroying all Russian infantry inside, the collapse of the building itself also denies Russian soldiers the ability to use this for shelter in the future.

Ukrainians also released footage showing the extent of the Russian losses towards Novoporkovske. The video showed close to 50 Russian personal losses in a tree line of under 100 m. With their losses quickly mounting, Russian forces in Solovyove desperately needed reinforcements. They sent multiple armored personnel carriers filled with infantry to the settlement, but they were all destroyed by FPV drones and artillery.

After Russian forces in the area were severely weakened, Ukrainians started carefully probing the Russian defenses for weak spots. Ukrainians attacked with Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, opening fire on and destroying Russian positions in front of Solovyove. These probing attacks went exceedingly well as Russian military bloggers confirmed that Ukrainians had retaken numerous tree lines and trench networks around Solovyove.

Overall, Ukrainian forces have severely depleted the Russian breakthrough near Ocheretyne, so Russians cannot execute any large-scale maneuvers. Russians carried out a series of costly attacks, receiving only marginal gains. Ukrainians have taken advantage of these high Russian losses by unleashing intense drone strikes targeting Russian infantry shelters and reinforcements around Solovyove.


This allowed Ukrainians to carry out localized counterattacks, retaking control over several trenches and tree lines. Maintaining control over these positions creates a tactical advantage for the Ukrainians, as it prevents Russian assault groups from directly attacking the settlements of Sokil and Novopokrovske. As Russians continue to suffer from a lack of reinforcements, Ukrainians will be able to regain the initiative and force the Russians back before they can dig in.

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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