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Frontline report: Ukrainian forces destroy Russian air defense systems and ammunition depot in Kharkiv direction, prepare for counterblow

Ukrainian drones struck a Russian ammunition depot in Olkhovatka with over 3000 artillery shells in storage and also destroyed two Russian Pantsir self-propelled air defense systems in Belgorod Oblast with HIMARS rockets, setting the stage for a powerful counteroffensive in Kharkiv direction.
Screenshot from the Reporting from Ukraine video
Screenshot from the Reporting from Ukraine video, 2 July
Frontline report: Ukrainian forces destroy Russian air defense systems and ammunition depot in Kharkiv direction, prepare for counterblow

There are a lot of updates from the Kharkiv direction.

Here, Ukrainians launched a series of devastating strikes on the Russian rear, targeting air defense systems and ammunition depots. Furthermore, Ukrainians have intensified their reconnaissance operations to prepare for the upcoming Ukrainian counteroffensive toward the international border.

Ukrainians destroy large Russian ammunition depot

First of all, Ukrainians launched an attack on a large Russian ammunition depot located in Olkhovatka. Planet Labs satellite images show huge smoke clouds billowing from the warehouses on the outskirts of the town. 

The governor of Olkhovatka stated that during a nightly drone attack, Russian air defenses had shot down two Ukrainian drones but that the fragments had landed on the warehouses. However, videos shared by local residents during the day reveal a constant ammunition cook-off from the ammunition depot. 

A Russian opposition outlet reported that the two warehouses hit had over 3000 artillery shells in storage. On top of that, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense stated that the total surface area of the depot was over 3500 square meters, meaning that there still were many more shells that would burn throughout the day.

Screenshot from the Reporting from Ukraine video, 2 July

Ukrainians destroy two Russian air defense systems

Next, the Ukrainian National Guard reported that they had destroyed two Russian Pantsir self-propelled air defense systems in Belgorod Oblast. Ukrainian reconnaissance drones had spotted the Russian vehicles operating in fields near Dubovoe and Borisovka before directing HIMARS attacks on these targets, destroying both of them. 

The Russian Pantsir-S1 air defense system is a valuable tool used by the Russian military to provide air defense for ground troops and intercept Ukrainian drone attacks. However, despite Russian claims that Pantsir-S1 can easily do so, the Pantsirs completely failed to detect and intercept both the Ukrainian surveillance drones that spotted them and the HIMARS missiles flying towards them.

Screenshot from the Reporting from Ukraine video, 2 July

Russian gather more manpower near Lyptsi 

In the direction of Lyptsi, a Russian soldier noted that for the second day in a row, Ukrainians have been pulling more manpower and equipment to their second-echelon reserves behind the front line. 

Ukrainians have also moved more long-range artillery and HIMARS systems into the region, explaining the quick response to and destroying the Pantsir systems as soon as they were detected. The soldier noted that the Ukrainian force’s concentration behind the front line indicates that Ukrainians are planning to launch a large counteroffensive operation in the near future. Ukrainian soldiers active in the area confirm this, stating they had assembled two brigades, over 10,000 to 15,000 soldiers, and were preparing for offensive actions. 

In turn, the Russian situation is much worse. As Russian losses in the region continue to rise rapidly, Russian reports indicate many Russian soldiers go missing during the night, with no explanation as to why. The reason for this is that Ukrainians regularly perform nightly raids on Russian trenches and positions, sneaking in and out without being noticed.

Another explanation is that during the night, Russian soldiers see their chance to either surrender to Ukrainians or desert their positions under cover of darkness so as not to get easily spotted by Russian barrier troops. 

Ukrainians increased reconnaissance operations on Russian positions

Sensing that the opportune moment to strike was rapidly approaching, Ukrainians started launching reconnaissance-in-force operations on Russian positions. Russian military analysts state that Ukrainians are launching these attacks every day now with increasing strength. 

In one of these attacks, Ukrainians sent a tank toward the Russian-controlled settlement of Hlyboke to fire on known and suspected Russian positions in the houses. The footage shows the tank driving to the settlement while performing evasive maneuvers. 

Screenshot from the Reporting from Ukraine video, 2 July

This was especially needed, as Russians were even firing salvos of devastating thermobaric rocket artillery at the vehicle. Ukrainians dodged the Russian artillery strikes and started relentlessly firing into the settlement. Russians also tried destroying the tank with multiple FPV kamikaze drones, which failed as the tank continued to fire and maneuver around the Russian artillery.

After completing their mission, the tank crew safely returned to friendly lines for repair and resupply. 

Throughout the attack, the Ukrainian tank fired over a dozen high-explosive grenades into the settlement, with multiple direct hits on Russian positions, which would be filled with manpower and ammunition. 

Ukrainians shell Russian positions in Hlyboke with artillery

Geolocated footage also shows how Ukrainians continued to shell Russian positions in Hlyboke with artillery. As well as attacking Russian soldiers moving in and toward the settlement with FPV drones and drone-dropped grenades. 

As you can see in the footage, most buildings are either destroyed or have collapsed roofs, which provide little to no cover for the Russian soldiers hiding here, making them very easy to spot for Ukrainian drone operators.

Screenshot from the Reporting from Ukraine video, 2 July

Overall, the Russian situation is quickly deteriorating. Russians are suffering heavy losses as Ukrainians work intensely to completely undermine the Russian defenses and set the stage for a future counteroffensive. 

Ukrainian strikes on Russian ammunition depots and air defense systems also heavily contribute to the weakening of the Russian advantage in artillery and air power. If Ukrainians can continue to do so, it will allow them to be more aggressive with their own infantry, armor, artillery, and aviation, as Russians would not be able to counter them as effectively. 

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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