The Armed Forces of Ukraine continue counter-offensive operations in at least three directions: this is the Bakhmut region, as well as the border of Donetsk and Zaporozhye regions.
The first photos and videos confirming the liberation of several settlements in the Donetsk region were published by Ukrainian forces on Sunday, June 11. Following the village of Blagodatnoye near Ugledar, it became known about the liberation of the urban-type settlement Velyka Novoselka in the Volnovakhsky district of the Donetsk region, as well as several other villages.
The Armed Forces of Ukraine, as stated by Deputy Defense Minister Anna Malyar , publish messages about the liberation of settlements only after the Ukrainian forces manage to gain a foothold there. Before reports of successful counter-offensive operations began to come in, the UAF published several messages calling for silence.
The liberation of at least five settlements is also confirmed by independent sources. Ruslan Leviev from the Conflict Intelligence Team in his daily report notes that in the Donetsk region, during the counter-offensive, the Armed Forces of Ukraine managed to liberate several settlements south-west of Velyka Novoselka, where fighting took place at the end of last week. We are talking about the villages of Neskuchnoe, Blagodatnoye, Makarovka and Storozhevoe, from where the Russians were driven out and fled (footage of this flight appeared on social networks and was geolocated in the Storozhevoe area last week). On Monday afternoon , Russian sources also confirmed the loss of control over Makarovka , from which it became known thatthat the Ukrainian army occupied the village of Novodarovka located to the west.
Videos from Russian sources also confirm the fighting on the outskirts of the village of Novodonetskoye, located southeast of Velikaya Novoselka. It is too early to talk about the control of any of the parties over this settlement, according to CIT. One way or another, until the Ukrainian army reached the main line of fortifications, prepared in advance by Russian troops.
In the Zaporizhia direction, the Ukrainian counter-offensive is also developing to the south and south-west of the city of Orekhov. The village of Lobkovoe was liberated here. One hundred kilometers to the east, southwest of Velikaya Novoselka, there is another settlement, Levadnoe, taken under the control of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The retreat from Levadnoe is also confirmed by Russian “military correspondents”, calling it a “regrouping” to occupy more convenient positions.
In the Donetsk region, a column of troops of the Armed Forces of Ukraine was geolocated in the area of the Mayorsk quarter adjacent to Horlivka. Here, as Ruslan Leviev notes, it is important that the column moved along the Seversky Donets-Donbass canal without visible opposition from the Russian forces, which means that in the future the Ukrainian army can advance here towards the Bakhmut-Gorlovka road and cut it, complicating the position of the Russian forces in Bahmut. Near Bakhmut itself, according to the CIT report, the Armed Forces of Ukraine have some successes in the Berkhovka area.
Russian sources are also releasing a video geolocated south of Orekhov, in the Novodanilovka area, showing the Ukrainian army losing four mine-clearing armored vehicles (three Leopard 2Rs and one Wisent 1). In general, the footage shows the same convoy of Ukrainian equipment received from the Western allies, the destruction of which became known as early as June 8-9.
Heavy fighting in the Donetsk region was mentioned on Sunday in the summary of the General Staff of Ukraine. Russia did not comment on the liberation of settlements in this region. On Monday, a spokesman for the Ukrainian Joint Defense Forces , Valeriy Shershen , who is in charge of the Taurida direction, said the Russians blew up a small hydro facility near Novodarovka, which led to the flooding of territories along both banks of the Wet Yaly River, along which the Ukrainian military is advancing south from Velika Novoselka. There is no confirmation of this information from other sources. Shershen said that the flooding of the river would not affect the conduct of counter-offensive actions of the Ukrainian forces.
Ukrainian media on Sunday also published reports on the actions of partisans in the Zaporozhye region: they blew up a railway bridge in the urban-type settlement of Akimovka, which is occupied by Russia. This bridge is used to supply the Russian military in southern Ukraine.
Control of the railroad tracks, military analyst Yuriy Fedorov told Radio Liberty , is an important goal of the current Ukrainian counter-offensive:
and the Volnovakha railway junction south of Ugledar. This railway line, which forks in different directions, is a significant part of the supply of the entire Russian grouping in the Zaporozhye and Kharkov regions and, apparently, even in the Crimea. Another railway supply line goes through the Kerch bridge or the Crimean bridge, as it is also called, through Kerch to Dzhankoy. At the same time, the Crimean bridge is an extremely vulnerable element. If it is hit by some missiles like Storm Shadow, if not destroyed, then they can seriously damage the railway track of the bridge. Accordingly, the supply will be severely disrupted.” Another railway supply line goes through the Kerch bridge or the Crimean bridge, as it is also called, through Kerch to Dzhankoy. At the same time, the Crimean bridge is an extremely vulnerable element. If it is hit by some rockets like Storm Shadow, if not destroyed, then they can seriously damage the bridge’s railroad tracks. Accordingly, the supply will be severely disrupted.” Another railway supply line goes through the Kerch bridge or the Crimean bridge, as it is also called, through Kerch to Dzhankoy. At the same time, the Crimean bridge is an extremely vulnerable element. If it is hit by some rockets like Storm Shadow, if not destroyed, then they can seriously damage the bridge’s railroad tracks. Accordingly, the supply will be severely disrupted.”
In total, during the counter-offensive in the Zaporozhye direction (including part of the Donetsk region in the Velika Novoselka area), according to the Oryx project, the Armed Forces of Ukraine lost from Western equipment received from the allies: 3 German Leopard 2A6 tanks and one Leopard 2A4, one YPR-765 infantry fighting vehicle made in the Netherlands, 17 American Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, 1 American International MaxxPro armored personnel carrier, two French AMX-10 armored vehicles, 3 American Oshkos M-ATV armored vehicles, 3 German Leopard 2R mine-clearing armored vehicles and one German Winsent 1 mine-clearing armored vehicle.
Ruslan Leviev of the Conflict Intelligence Team, like most experts, urges not to draw conclusions based on the first days of the Ukrainian counteroffensive. “The Ukrainian army may, based on their results, make adjustments to its actions, after which the hostilities may go completely differently. The loss of Western equipment is unpleasant for Ukraine in terms of media, but expected,” Leviev says in the latest CIT report.
Former U.S. Marine Corps officer, Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI) researcher Rob Lee also tweeted : “It was always understood that this [counteroffensive] would be difficult and take time. Ukraine appears to have made significant progress , but the heaviest battle may begin in a week or even later.”
Yuri Fedorov calls what is happening not a full-fledged “counteroffensive”, but “offensive operations on a small scale.”
“This is the scale of battalions, not brigades. There are certain successes – several points in the Velyka Novoselka area are occupied. This activation is quite visible: there are certain successes, of course, not without losses, including the equipment that was delivered to Ukraine from Western countries “but this is natural, it cannot be otherwise. There is no offensive without losses at all. Perhaps this is reconnaissance in force – the search for weaknesses in the enemy’s defense, which, of course, need to be found. It is quite possible that this is a test of one’s own tactics, an assessment of the practice of how great or low the combat stability of the defending troops, the identification in practice of tactics and methods of their action. Previously, there was no information about how Russian troops would behave in defense, by and large.
According to Serhiy Cherevaty , a representative of the eastern group of troops of the Armed Forces of Ukraine , positional battles continue in the Bakhmut area, while the Ukrainian military continues to counterattack where possible.
On the eve of the counter-offensive, Ukraine prepared several brigades that received modern weapons. Yuri Fedorov notes that the Armed Forces of Ukraine should pay special attention to protecting their flanks – so as not to fall into the same situation in which the Russian units found themselves in Bakhmut.
“According to my estimates, the forces gathered by Ukraine are enough to break through the defenses in one sector of 20-30 or 30-40 kilometers, go to depth and gain a foothold. The advancing troops should first of all pay attention to protecting the flanks, but this an obvious thing for any military man, because what the enemy will do in response to a breakthrough of his defense is to try to surround the advancing group with side strikes, cut off his supply and then destroy it, ”says Fedorov.
The Economist, in an article published on June 11, writesreferring to an unnamed source in the Ukrainian army, that the losses of the Armed Forces of Ukraine during the counteroffensive had already amounted to “dozens of people.” It can be assumed that they would have been even larger without the same Western equipment, albeit lost in the minefields: there are no bodies of the dead in the videos published by Russian sources. The Economist also notes that the full plans of the Ukrainian command are not yet clear and may include both the encirclement of Bakhmut and a breakthrough towards the city of Tokmak in the Zaporozhye region. A source in the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine says that the main Ukrainian forces have not been brought into battle, and what is happening now is a “chess game”, during which both sides are trying to lure each other out of reserves. For Ukraine, according to the interlocutor of journalists.
Source : svoboda.org