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Frontline report: Ukraine preparing major offensive to encircle and isolate Vovchansk

Ukraine is allocating significant resources to expedite advances in the Vovchansk direction, aiming for a decisive victory through the use of encirclement.
Screenshot from the Reporting from Ukraine video
Screenshot from the Reporting from Ukraine video
Frontline report: Ukraine preparing major offensive to encircle and isolate Vovchansk

Today, there is a lot of news  from the Kharkiv direction.

Screenshot from the Reporting from Ukraine video

In the northern area of Vovchansk, Russian forces have launched massive shelling on the “Citadel,” aiming to reduce it to rubble and deprive the Ukrainians of this key stronghold. This intense bombardment threatens to compromise Ukrainian advances in this sector or even force a retreat from certain positions.

Screenshot from the Reporting from Ukraine video

Consequently, Ukrainian efforts have increasingly focused on the eastern part of Vovchansk, where they  continue to make significant progress. Efforts are ongoing to link the Ukrainian advance from the east of the city with the Tikhe area, aiming to dislodge Russian forces from the hills. Footage from various Russian sources has shown intense aerial bombardments on Tikhe, confirming that the village and its  surroundings are under Ukrainian control.

Screenshot from the Reporting from Ukraine video

The small town of Tikhe has emerged as a critical point for the Ukrainian command, particularly the road connecting it to Vovchansk. This road could be decisive in capturing the city due to the destruction of many bridges along the Vovcha River, which complicates the movement of armored vehicles to the northern part of the  river. If Ukrainian forces can secure this road, they will be able to transport armored vehicles more easily to the city, potentially leading to the collapse of Russian defenses in the area.

Screenshot from the Reporting from Ukraine video

Aware of this strategic importance, Russian forces continue efforts to destroy bridges and pontoon crossings established by the Ukrainians east of Tikhe, attempting to hinder their advance and supply lines. Simultaneously, Ukrainian forces have continued their offensive west of Vovchansk. Recent geolocated images reveal the assault and recapture of several areas in the center and south of Starytsia, approximately 10 km southwest of Vovchansk.

The footage shows an intense assault conducted by members of the 101st Guard Brigade, advancing house by house and employing a variety of weapons, including RPGs. This resulted in the complete destruction of many buildings, with some even being set ablaze. The video shows very sensitive scenes that we can only show uncensored on our Telegram channel. 

Additionally, various Russian sources have recently updated their maps to acknowledge Ukrainian control over an extensive forest area west of Starytsia, extending to the international border. Geolocated images depict a recent Russian aerial bombardment aimed at undermining Ukrainian positions in this forested region.

Screenshot from the Reporting from Ukraine video

Starytsia is situated at the intersection of several significant forested areas and is in close proximity to the Siverski Donets River, limiting potential lines of advance in this sector. If Ukrainian forces can establish a defensive zone in Starytsia, any large-scale Russian advance in the area would become virtually impossible.

Screenshot from the Reporting from Ukraine video

Combining the Ukrainian advances from Tikhe in the east and Starytsia in the west, it appears that the Ukrainian command is preparing a major offensive to encircle and isolate Vovchansk. Recent reports of massing Ukrainian forces in this direction support this possibility. Additionally, a recent military analyst group report highlighted Russian efforts to establish new defensive trench lines about 2.5 km inside  Ukrainian territory, north of Vovchansk, and to construct new fortified trenches in the Russian-controlled area just west of Vovchansk.

Screenshot from the Reporting from Ukraine video

Ukrainian forces are well aware of these Russian efforts and have already destroyed at least fifteen pieces of engineering equipment using FPV drones. These Russian fortification efforts indicate their intention to maintain their marginal advances from the international borders, anticipating an imminent Ukrainian offensive.

Overall, the Ukrainian command is allocating significant resources to expedite advances in the Vovchansk direction, aiming for a decisive victory. Given the challenges of advancing and deploying armored vehicles through Vovchansk’s northern urban area, Ukrainian forces appear to be planning an encirclement operation from Tikhe in the east and the Starytsia area in the west. Under such conditions, the Russian decision to hold their positions in Vovchansk seems driven purely by political considerations.

Screenshot from the Reporting from Ukraine video

With their offensive in Vovchansk effectively contained and their attempt to connect the Lyptsi and   Vovchansk lines of advance having failed, the concept of a buffer zone has become untenable. Trying to maintain these two unconnected zones at a disproportionate cost in personnel and equipment lacks any strategic justification.

In our regular 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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