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Frontline report: Ukrainians reinforce Kharkiv front, stall Russian offensive near Lyptsi

Ukrainians move reinforcements, drone teams to Lyptsi area, Kharkiv Oblast, stalling premature Russian offensive, preparing counterattacks as Russians lose momentum.
frontline report ukrainians reinforce kharkiv front stall russian offensive near lyptsi screenshot from reporting ukraine video 7
Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.
Frontline report: Ukrainians reinforce Kharkiv front, stall Russian offensive near Lyptsi

Day 833: 5 June

Today, there are a lot of updates from the Kharkiv direction.

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Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

Here, the Russians severely misjudged their own capabilities and prematurely launched their offensive, while Ukrainians are on the brink of turning the tide and starting their counteroffensive.

frontline report ukrainians reinforce kharkiv front stall russian offensive near lyptsi screenshot from reporting ukraine video lukiantsi
Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

As you remember, in the first several days of the Russian Kharkiv offensive, Ukrainians conducted a fighting withdrawal from the border. The reason why they did this is to buy time for further reinforcements to arrive at the main defensive line near the settlements of Lyptsi and Vesele.

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Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

While Ukrainians continued to withdraw near Lukiantsi, they caused the Russians further delay behind the small river at Hlyboke, doing massive damage to Russian assault groups with FPV kamikaze drones. Later, Russians eventually managed to advance on the flanks of Hlyboke and force Ukrainian units to pull back out of the settlement.

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Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

Interestingly enough, Russian military bloggers reported that Ukrainians decided not to pull back fully to their defensive line but to hold the Russian advance as it stood now as much as possible. Ukrainian reasoning becomes more apparent if we look at the topographic map. Here, we can see that Lyptsi is situated in the lowlands and is surrounded by three strategic heights. These hills provide fire control over and entry into Lyptsi for whoever controls them.

As you can see, on the eastern heights, Russians had advanced towards the main Ukrainian line of defense. Ukrainians still control these ridges, providing them fire control over the settlement. The hills to the east are under complete Ukrainian control. This means that if the Russians do eventually manage to move into Lyptsi, Ukrainians will be able to constantly fire into Lyptsi, never allowing Russians to gain complete control.

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Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

The highest intensity of clashes is taking place on the northern heights, which Russians nearly have taken completely, for two important reasons. Firstly, if Russians manage to take full control over these hills, they will be able to start moving into Lyptsi itself. While Ukrainians would maintain fire control over the settlement through their tactical positions on the surrounding heights. Russians could start intensively bombing Ukrainian defenses in order to slowly wear them down. Secondly, if Russians gain fire control over Lyptsi from the north, it would also heavily complicate future counterattacks here, as Ukrainians would have to move through the settlement and up the hill. Because of this, Ukrainians understood it was critical to hold their positions on the northern hills in front of their main defensive line.

At the beginning of the Russian offensive in northern Kharkiv, Russians managed to take control over the northern dachas in the exurbs of Lyptsi. Russians would be able to use this to move along the sides of Ukrainian positions on the hills, severely threatening the Ukrainian defenses. Ukrainians quickly reacted to this development, and Ukrainians started conducting counterattacks and clearing the houses Russians had entered.

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Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

Ukrainian commanders also transferred special forces units and experienced drone operator teams to the area to further support Ukrainian soldiers holding the zero line on the hills. Geolocated footage shows Ukrainian drone operators of the 42nd mechanized brigade striking Russian trenches near Hlyboke.

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Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

Further released footage shows more FPV drone strikes on buildings, positions, and transports around the settlement. Drone operators of a Ukrainian special forces detachment also showed how they were destroying Russian cars carrying ammunition to frontline positions. Lastly, the 42nd brigade shared a compilation of footage showing the intensity of their strikes on Russian transports of manpower and ammunition and Russian infantry on the front line.

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Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

Ukrainian fighters active in the area stated that their drone operators target Russian supply lines to gradually weaken Russian frontline positions and cause unrest and discontent among Russian troops.

Judging by the intensity of the Ukrainian drone strikes, it’s no wonder that Russian military bloggers report that Ukrainian FPV strikes and grenade drops are the main factors hindering their advance.

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Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

Moreover, Russian military bloggers state that Ukrainians have moved a sufficient number of reserves to the area. Ukrainians use their large number of forces in the area to quickly and constantly conduct counterattacks wherever Russians are weak, although these clashes remain purely positional for now. Commander in Chief of Ukraine’s armed forces, Oleksandr Syrski, stated that Russian forces have shifted to an active defense in the Lyptsi direction. This means that Russians are conducting attacks here, not in an attempt to gain ground but to keep Ukrainians from counterattacking and pushing them back.

To further achieve this, Russians also conducted a large number of FAB glide-bomb strikes on Ukrainian positions. Russian military bloggers state that Russian aviation drops at least 20 glide bombs per day in the Lyptsi direction alone. Recently, the Institute for the Study of War published new insights into the Russian offensive operation north of Kharkiv.

The Institute for the Study of War reported that Russians had likely started their offensive prematurely, severely undermining Russian successes in the north. Russian commanders likely saw their window of opportunity quickly closing as Ukrainians strengthened their defenses in the north in anticipation of a large Russian offensive. Western military aid to Ukraine also severely bolstered the combat capability of Ukraine’s armed forces. However, as Ukrainian forces fighting on the hotspots in the east had priority over the north, Russian commanders likely thought they could break through Ukrainian lines quite easily.

The Institute for the Study of War also stated that Russian military command had prevented the accumulation of a much larger force due to the fear that it would alert Ukrainians, reducing their element of surprise. They add that the decision not to immediately introduce significant reserves prevented Russian forces from achieving rapid gains and deeper penetration. They conclude that Ukrainians have now established themselves at key defensive positions in the area, adding that, Russian forces have expended and lost their tactical opportunity to make rapid gains against the initially lightly defended Ukrainian border region.

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Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

Overall, Russians gambled with the timing of their offensive and lost because Russians were not able to reinforce their frontline positions in time to achieve a larger breakthrough. On top of that, Ukrainians used their superior positioning at tactical heights to prevent Russians from moving into Lyptsi. To support this operation, Ukrainians reinforced the area with a large number of infantry, equipment, special forces detachments, and experienced drone operators.

frontline report ukrainians reinforce kharkiv front stall russian offensive near lyptsi screenshot from reporting ukraine video 9
Screenshot from a Reporting From Ukraine video.

Their combined effort allowed Ukrainians to hold the Russians at bay along the road to Lyptsi, setting the stage for future counterattacks as Russians are quickly losing the initiative in this direction.

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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