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Frontline report: Russian forces suffer disastrous defeat in Chasiv Yar canal crossing offensive

In a tactical failure, Russian forces attempting to cross the canal in Chasiv Yar and advance on the Novi District were swiftly encircled and eliminated by Ukrainian ambushes, losing two BMD infantry fighting vehicles, a Tiger armored car, and a T-90M tank.
Chasiv yar direction June 2024
Screenshot a from Reporting from Ukraine video
Frontline report: Russian forces suffer disastrous defeat in Chasiv Yar canal crossing offensive

Day 832: 3 June

On 3 June, there were many updates from the Bakhmut direction.

The most interesting updates came from the southern flank of Chasiv Yar. Here, the Russians intensified their assaults, reinforced their striking groups, and attempted to conduct an offensive operation across the canal in hopes of cutting off Ukrainian forces in the canal district.

The Russian Commander started devising a new plan after Russian forces consolidated control over the large forest to the canal’s east. The forest provided cover from detection by drones and further FPV drone strikes or artillery strikes, so Russians used it to accumulate large forces for two new assault directions. The forest enables a decent staging ground for the new assault direction to the south of the canal district and for the assault towards the Novi district to the west of the canal.

The Russian plan here was to cross the canal since this particular section goes underground, providing Russians with stable soil to cross over it. Afterward, the goal of the Russians was to establish positions in another forest to the west of the canal pipes.

Chasiv yar direction June 2024
Screenshot from Reporting from Ukraine video

To do this, they would need to establish another food hold. The Russians want to establish a bridgehead here because it will allow them to covertly accumulate even more forces. Such a staging ground would enable direct assaults on the Novi residential area to the north of the forest.

Ukrainian defenses here are not as strong as in the high-rise area. This district consists of only small residential houses, which do not give Ukrainians powerful firing positions. Unlike reinforced high-rise buildings, these houses are also easier to destroy by artillery, which explains why Russians would prioritize assaults on the Novi district over the Canal district.

If Russians managed to take the Novi District in further assaults, they would effectively cut off the main supply road to forces in the canal district, forcing the Ukrainians to withdraw from the area. By uppercutting Novi, Russians would overrun the primary Ukrainian defenses of Chasiv Yar in the canal district, which could risk a withdrawal to the western side of the water barrier.

Chasiv yar direction June 2024
Screenshot from Reporting from Ukraine video

Despite establishing a staging ground, Russians encountered a series of major problems. The staging ground in the forest is isolated from roads, so Russians can only deploy infantry squads to conduct assaults on foot. On top of that, the infantry has to walk on foot all the way to the forest. Such a process is time-consuming and delays the Russian response period, which is buying more time for Ukrainian defenders. Moreover, the above-ground crossing is open between the two forests on each side, enabling the Ukrainians to destroy any troops crossing the canal.

With full-time drawn observation of the movement of troops and equipment over the canal that isn’t already destroyed, Ukrainians can deploy and prepare troops in the Novi district for a Russian assault heading their way.

Chasiv yar direction June 2024
Screenshot from Reporting from Ukraine video

Russian infantry were often forced to move through a narrow river valley in an open area on their way to execute combat missions, which made them targets of FPV drone strikes. Furthermore, fighting in the western Forest would be troublesome for the Russians as their vehicles would not be able to move through.

If we look at the 3D map, we can see that the area is densely covered with trees and has a very difficult, uneven terrain, allowing us to move only on foot. Such a setting would isolate Russian infantry on the other side without significant firepower. Besides, it would be increasingly difficult for Russian aircraft to determine the locations of their troops and Ukrainians in the dense forest. Any glide bomb strike, therefore, presents a significant risk of friendly fire, making supporting air strikes very unlikely.

Chasiv yar direction June 2024
Screenshot from Reporting from Ukraine video

Nonetheless, despite all the reasons that made an assault across the canal inadvisable, Russians decided to proceed with this offensive operation. Ukrainian fighters reported that Russian sent groups of infantry across the canal and noted that they did not last long.

During the assaults, Russians managed to cross the canal, enter the forest and establish positions close to the outskirts of Novi District. Ukrainian reconnaissance drone operators quickly mapped the Russian vectors of advancement, allowing Ukrainian Ground Forces to organize counterattacks.

Chasiv yar direction June 2024
Screenshot from Reporting from Ukraine video

Ukrainians leveraged their hidden positions in the forest to ambush the attackers and cut them off the mainland. Because of exposure to drone strikes near the canal crossing and because the forests allow for Ukrainians to set up ambushes, Russian troops were quickly encircled and eliminated.

Ukrainian fighters in the area report that Russian assault groups barely lasted 30 minutes on the other side of the canal. Later, prominent Russian military bloggers confirmed that all Russian attempts to break through Ukrainian defenses near the Novi District were unsuccessful.

Ultimately, the Russians gave up on their attempts to cross the canal. Seeing that their attempts to cross the canal and advance on Novi District to cut off Canal District to the east were unsuccessful, the Russians resorted to assaulting the Canal from the front yet again.

Chasiv yar direction June 2024
Screenshot from Reporting from Ukraine video

This time, Russians attacked the canal district from the south. However, because Russians had to cross a large open field, Russian units suffered significant losses in manpower and equipment. Ukrainian drone operators managed to destroy two BMD 3s and a BMD4 infantry fighting vehicle, one tiger armored car, and a T90m tank.

Overall, Russian forces conducted a disastrous canal crossing operation despite the unfavorable setting and the fact that such operation conditions were premature. The Russian commanders sent their elite airborne to assault the Novi District.

Ukrainian forces exploited the main Russian weaknesses, exploiting the narrow area of advancement, cutting off Russian forces from supplies, and slowly encircling and eliminating the isolated soldiers. It seems that the Russian commanders do not plan to continue with this operation, as they have already gone back to the usual costly frontal assaults on the Ukrainian fortifications in the canal district.

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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