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Frontline report: The battle for Chasiv Yar hinges on an unassuming waterway

Control of a crucial overground canal crossing could allow Russia to “establish a bridgehead and launch further attacks on Chasiv Yar,” potentially threatening Ukrainian supply lines and rear positions.
Chasiv yar Russian attack
Russian air bombs have flattened districts of Chasiv Yar. Screenshot from Reporting from Ukraine video
Frontline report: The battle for Chasiv Yar hinges on an unassuming waterway

Today there are a lot of updates from the Bakhmut direction. The most interesting news comes from the northern flank of Chasiv Yar.

Chasiv yar Russian attack
Chasiv Yar on a map. Screenshot from Reporting from Ukraine video

Here the Russians attempted to establish a foothold on the western side of the canal to attack Chasiv Yar from the north. However, Ukrainians thwarted this operation on time, forcing Russians to yet again focus on casualty-heavy assaults in the canal district for marginal gains.

Chasiv yar Russian attack
Ukrainians thwarted the operation to capture Kalynivka. Screenshot from Reporting from Ukraine video

Russian forces made the village of Kalynivka their main goal to expand assaults on Chasiv Yar from the north.

This village, located north of the town, is significant for the Russians because an overground passage over the canal would enable Russians to cross it. Russians want to exploit this crossing to establish a bridgehead and use it to launch further attacks on Chasiv Yar. Such an approach could enable Russians to attack Ukrainian rear positions and stretch their lines, which could cause Ukrainians to withdraw from the canal district.

In one such assault, Russians managed to cross the canal to establish positions on the other side. Combat footage shows an MTLB armored transport carrying 10 Russian soldiers across the canal. Subsequently, the squad dismounted from the vehicle to establish positions in the nearby trenches.

Chasiv yar Russian attack
Russians dismount from their vehicle to to establish positions. Screenshot from Reporting from Ukraine video

However, unfortunately for the Russians, they were immediately targeted by a kamikaze drone, which wounded a third of the assault squad. This caused panic among the whole team, which dispersed while the MTLB drove off to the northwest, leaving everyone behind.

The prompt Ukrainian strike against the Russian infantry group suggests that Ukrainian forces have extensive visibility in the area. Institute for the Study of War assesses that the Russian infantry group likely did not survive the assault and that Russian troops could not establish enduring positions in the area due to this particular attack.

Chasiv yar Russian attack
Ukrainian forces have good visibility in Kalynivka. Screenshot from Reporting from Ukraine video

While the fate of the Russian unit remains unknown, Ukrainian sources reported that the unit got so far because it got lost and then it was reportedly eliminated. After the failed operation, Ukrainians took advantage of the disorganized and dispersed state of Russians in the area to launch a counterattack to retake the lost parts of Kalynivka. Bild assesses that the Ukrainians were successful and retook Kalynivka from the Russians, effectively diminishing their gains by pushing them to the eastern outskirts of the village.

As a result of the failure to advance on the Kanal residential district from the flanks, Russian commanders decided to intensify heavy casualty-inducing frontal assaults on the Kanal district. Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief Oleksandr Syrskyiv stated that Russians are trying to take it at all costs.

It was noted that Russians used an unusually high number of infantry fighting vehicles in combination with T-90M tanks. Many of these were successfully destroyed by Ukrainian anti-tank guided missile and drone operators.

Chasiv yar Russian attack
Ukrainian tanks destroyed in frontal assault on Chasiv yar. Screenshot from Reporting from Ukraine video

Russian air force bombardments with glide bombs collapsed large sections of high-rises at the eastern edges of the district, while rubble collapsed and blocked many hallways and parts of seemingly intact parts of buildings. This made the buildings untenable for any defensive positions, forcing the Ukrainians to withdraw from them and leaving weak points for Russian fighters to exploit.

Geolocated footage shows a squad of eight Russian airborne troops crossing a road from a seized building and taking up positions in the Chasiv Yar repair plant. Another combat video shows airborne troops clearing out the Ukrainian positions in a high-rise building. After that, the Russians raised their flag over the building.

Chasiv yar Russian attack
Russians taking positions in Chasiv Yar repair plant. Screenshot from Reporting from Ukraine video

Based on this footage, we can see that the Russian fighters advanced up to Obrastava Street. To the right of the street are 5-story high-rise buildings. These buildings enable Russians to have strong firing positions. Then again, Ukrainians on the other side of the street are also in high rises, so both Russians and Ukrainians diminish any chances of either having fire control here.

Chasiv yar Russian attack
Both Ukrainians and Russians have strong firing positions. Screenshot from Reporting from Ukraine video

For this reason, Russians will likely use the captured repair plant to the north to launch attacks toward the bridges on the canal to cut off the road, supplying and reinforcing the Ukrainians in remaining positions.

Chasiv yar Russian attack
Russians will likely launch these attacks in Chasiv Yar. Screenshot from Reporting from Ukraine video

Because of the very unfavorable positions that Ukrainians found themselves in, they might have to withdraw to the other side of the canal and blow up all bridges over it.

Chasiv yar Russian attack
Ukraine might need to withdraw over the canal in Chasiv Yar. Screenshot from Reporting from Ukraine video

Even if the remaining positions in the district fall to the Russian fighters, there is a barrier in the form of the canal right behind the building. Therefore, any further Russian attempts at assaults would be suicidal, making the total Russian losses during the assaults in this area unreasonable for such tactically insignificant gains.

Chasiv yar Russian attack
Russian attempts to cross the canal would be “suicidal.” Screenshot from Reporting from Ukraine video

Overall, the battle for the northern flank of Chasiv Yar has seen intense Russian attempts to secure positions, notably in Kalynivka, which have been effectively countered by Ukrainian forces using advanced tactics.

Despite significant destruction in the Kanal district due to Russian bombardments, Ukrainian defenders have managed to retake and hold critical positions. The ongoing battle remains highly dynamic, with heavy casualties among Russian fighters and no decisive gains achieved by the Russian forces.

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