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Frontline report: Ukrainian drones decimate Russian artillery and logistics in Donetsk Oblast battles

Skilled Ukrainian drone operators destroyed numerous Russian howitzers, ammunition stores, and delivery vehicles, cutting off vital support to Russian frontline troops, while American-supplied artillery and glide bombs also enabled Ukrainian forces to crush Russian assaults.
Ukraine map
Ukraine map. Screenshot from a video by Reporting from Ukraine
Frontline report: Ukrainian drones decimate Russian artillery and logistics in Donetsk Oblast battles

Day 832: 4 June

Today, there is a lot of news from the Kurakhove direction, Donetsk Oblast. 

Here, the Ukrainians successfully stopped the second wave of Russian attacks against the next village after Novomykhailivka, after not giving the enemy enough time to rest and regroup. The Russians quickly got stuck in front of the tiniest village of the long settlement chain along the river – Paraskoviivka. It presented a formidable obstacle for them, not because of the strength and size of fortifications in it but due to all the new tactics the Ukrainians deployed. 

This settlement is crucial for the Russians if they want to reach their operational goal of taking Kostiantynivka and open access to Vuhledar from the north. Knowing how significant this was for the Russians, the Ukrainians decided once again to strike first and not to let them gather large forces for the next wave of attacks. For this, the Ukrainian commanders developed a battle plan with several key steps. 

Screenshot from a video by Reporting from Ukraine

Ukrainians cut off Russian forces from artillery support 

The first step was to effectively cut off Russian forces from their artillery support by taking counterbattery measures. For this purpose, Ukrainians monitored the Russian rear east of Novomykhailivka, looking for enemy artillery assets. Ukrainian drone operators from the Shadow detachment located several D-30 howitzers southeast of this village and targeted them with FPV drones. The artillery systems were successfully destroyed even though they were concealed in the three lines with the help of additional camouflage nets to mask their presence. 

Drone operators from the Adam detachment were responsible for the hunt northeast of the village. Over a short interval of time, they were able to destroy not only multiple D-30 howitzers but also several self-propelled artillery systems, a couple in their hide-outs, and several more on the move. The skillful drone pilots put additional pressure on that area by also targeting munition hideouts and delivery vehicles to undermine Russian artillery missions. 

Screenshot from a video by Reporting from Ukraine

Ukrainians disrupt Russian deliveries of fresh forces or munitions to frontline positions

These attacks marked the beginning of the second step of the Ukrainian plan to undermine the Russian effort by not allowing them to deliver fresh forces or munitions to frontline positions. 

Ukrainians used the relatively flat and clear terrain around Novomykhailivka to their advantage by hunting enemy delivery vehicles with FPV drones. If we look at the geolocated footage, we can see more than 10 such vehicles destroyed over a short period of time, ranging from big Kamaz cargo trucks to smaller UAZ vans.

Ukrainian raids on Russian forces accumulation points

After these successful initial steps to limit Russian artillery and delivery operations in the region, the Ukrainians moved to the third phase in their deadly plan – to conduct a series of vicious raids on Russian forces accumulation points – both on the frontline and in the rear. 

Drone operators from the 79th Separate Airborne Assault Brigade published more than a dozen geolocated video clips showing how they engage Russian soldiers in trenches, hideouts, and safe houses. 

One of the videos highlights one Russian tactic that can be seen more and more often in the last weeks, namely the use of motorcycles to quickly deploy forces to the contact line and to conduct assaults. Previously, they used from one to two such vehicles, but in these most recent images, we can see an update of this dubious tactic with five or more working in a group, trying to use the speed of the motorbikes to their advantage.

Screenshot from a video by Reporting from Ukraine

Russian assault attempt on Paraskoviivka

The devastating outcome of the Ukrainian actions forced the Russian commanders to make a desperate attempt to launch another wave of attacks against Ukrainian positions around Paraskoviivka with everything they still had available. 

The size of these Russian assault groups in these geolocated images from Paraskoviivka’s vicinity showcases exactly how effective the Ukrainian approach was. Previously, they usually consisted of several tanks, armored personnel carriers, and infantry groups of up to 20 soldiers, but the most recent footage shows a significant reduction to single tanks, BTR, and MT-LB vehicles supported by infantry groups of up to five soldiers. 

The forces engaged were not sufficient to overwhelm Ukrainians, who were well prepared for such a scenario and inflicted significant damage with Javelin anti-tank guided missiles and drone-dropped grenades, crushing this third wave of attacks against this important settlement. 

How do US weapons help 

In another geolocated footage from an unsuccessful Russian attempt to storm the suburb of Paraskoviivka, we repetitively see how important the help package from the United States was for the Ukrainian defenders. Several Russian armored vehicles were greeted with an artillery barrage so powerful that it prompted them to turn back to avoid destruction. 

After several tries, some surviving Russian soldiers managed to hide in a large building in the village, but their activity and possible formation of a foothold were quickly stopped by a Ukrainian air strike with glide bombs that reduced the building to rubble and eliminated any option for the Russians to use it in the future.

Screenshot from a video by Reporting from Ukraine

Overall, Ukrainians continued to undermine the Russian attempts to advance further west from Novomykhailivka by developing a multi-level plan that not only targeted enemy force concentrations but deprived them of artillery support and vital deliveries. This tactic showed immediate effect and put pressure on the Russians to make another desperate and unsuccessful push forward but with severely reduced strength. 

The battles in this direction are still ongoing, and we are yet to see how the situation will unfold, but the Ukrainians have continued exhausting Russian forces, ensuring their unsustainability of losses and the premature culmination of the offensive effort with little to no gains toward Kostiantynivka.

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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