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Frontline report: Ukrainian defenders turn field into “death zone” for Russian armor

Two Russian tanks hit mines and burst into flames while attempting to cross open fields between Solodke and Vodyane.
Screenshot from the Reporting from Ukraine video, 8 July
Frontline report: Ukrainian defenders turn field into “death zone” for Russian armor

Day 867: 9 July

On 9 July, there is a lot of news from the Kurakhove direction.

Screenshot from the Reporting from Ukraine video, 8 July

In the past several weeks, Ukrainian forces have consistently thwarted all Russian attempts to advance further west from Novomykhailivka by employing multi-level tactics designed to exhaust enemy forces and undermine their combat capability. This relentless defense has significantly pressured Russian commanders, pressuring them to seek alternative strategies to breach Ukrainian defense lines.

Consequently, they decided to open a new vector of attack south of Novomykhailivka to find a breakthrough. To achieve this, they decided to use the small village of Solodke as a launchpad for a surprise attack west of Vodyane.

Screenshot from the Reporting from Ukraine video, 8 July

As this geolocated video shows, the initial Russian assault group consisted of two tanks. They suddenly encountered a Ukrainian minefield while attempting to cross the open fields between the two villages and reach a tree line that could serve as a position. The second tank exploded first, and moments later, the leading armored vehicle also hit an antitank mine, bursting into flames. Although this attack ended in disaster for the Russians, they managed to capture the tree line and fortify their position in anticipation of the Ukrainian response.

The Ukrainians understood they could not allow the Russians to establish a foothold in the tree line, as it would pose a significant threat to their defense lines near Kostyantynivka and potentially expose their southern flank.

Screenshot from the Reporting from Ukraine video, 8 July

Consequently, they immediately responded by deploying a Bradley armored fighting vehicle to spearhead a counterattack to clear the Russian presence from the tree line. The geolocated footage shows the Bradley advancing at high speed while delivering suppressing fire from its main gun. This firepower’s intense and devastating effect is evident as the vehicle gets within several meters of the tree line, continuing to inflict damage on the Russians from very close range.

Subsequently, the Ukrainian infantry assault group disembarks and begins clearing the trenches using various weapons, including grenades. Moments later, the task is accomplished, and another Bradley arrives, delivering additional troops and evacuating a wounded soldier. Russian military bloggers later acknowledged that the outcome of this counterattack was successful, with the Ukrainians recapturing the positions in the tree line.

The failure of this Russian effort pushed their commanders to again attempt a direct assault against Kostyantynivka.

Screenshot from the Reporting from Ukraine video, 8 July

As you can remember, most of the previous attacks in this direction happened north of the small lake that divides the village from the small settlement of Paraskoviivka. This time, however, the Russians chose to strike from the south side of the lake. A geolocated video from the area shows one Russian armored fighting vehicle attempting to cross the field using a similar approach to the earlier Ukrainian attack. Although the vehicle manages to advance slightly, it soon hits a mine and explodes, prompting the surviving crew members to abandon the remnants and seek cover.

Minutes later, a second vehicle is destroyed by Ukrainian defenders using an antitank guided missile, and it is subsequently finished off with a kamikaze drone. The next scene in the clip reveals the rapid escalation of the situation, as we see the smoking remains of six or seven Russian armored vehicles in flames, all struck and destroyed in the same area, effectively turning it into a death zone. Several other huge explosions can be seen in the video, showcasing how effective the Ukrainian defense is at rebuffing this new Russian endeavor.

Ukrainians then decided to maintain their proactive campaign to prevent the Russians from amassing large forces by targeting their positions, hideouts, personnel, and vehicles.

Screenshot from the Reporting from Ukraine video, 8 July

Soldiers from the Ukrainian 79th Air Assault Brigade published videos showcasing their engagements with various enemy targets in the area. The first video highlights the skillful work of their FPV drone operators, who are seen hunting Russian troops in open fields and among the ruins of Paraskoviivka. The small village, offering almost no cover due to the intense fighting, became a focal point for Ukrainian attacks. To eliminate any potential threats, the Ukrainians opted to demolish several remaining larger buildings with guided air bombs after detecting Russian presence and activity in and around them.

These powerful strikes by the Ukrainian forces once again sabotaged the already exhausted Russian troops in the region, effectively preventing them from continuing their attempts to advance westward.

Overall, the trend in the Kurakhove direction remains unfavorable for the Russians. They failed to gain more ground west of Novomykhailivka, and all gains were quickly lost due to intensive Ukrainian counterattacks.

Screenshot from the Reporting from Ukraine video, 8 July

At the same time, the Ukrainians continue to thwart all Russian offensives and proactively prevent them from forming a larger assault group and securing positions with extensive drone, artillery, and air strikes. In the long term, this is not only exhausting the Russian forces to an alarming level of degradation but also allowing Ukrainians to rotate their troops and conduct even more daring blitz operations.

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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