Good morning everybody!
A relatively short summary today — simply because there are not many details coming from either side, and I’m not of the kind to fabricate news for the sake of ‘sizing’ my reports.
Three Kalibr cruise missiles were shot down while approaching from the Black Sea, yesterday (one by a MANPAD), and another one — probably a Kh-22 or Kh-59 — in the Chernihiv area. The Keystone Cops in Moscow reported to have ‘destroyed arsenal of artillery weapons and ammunition’. Some Russians now claim this was the first combat deployment off Kalibr-M:
….and there’s a new video — this time taken by the IR camera of a VKS helicopter — purportedly shown that unguided rockets fired by VKS Su-25 are not dispersing as widely as perceived:
…along related commentary, they are serving as ‘flying multiple rocket launchers’. Think, Ukrainian troops are not going to complain about Russian wishful thinking. BTW, in the Izium area, two Russian air-to-air missiles reportedly missed a pair of Ukrainian Su-25s. Surprisingly enough, the Keystone Cops did not promptly claim both as ‘shot down’: instead, they claimed a MiG-29 over Slovyansk and a Mi-24 over Snegirevka (Mykolaiv region) — both by air defences. Well, perhaps the video is 3–4 days old…
BATTLE OF DONBASS
After days of Russian claim to have spent the last two days ‘regrouping and then attacking’ — and that almost along the entire frontline.
Izium…there are no news in sense of advances or reversals, but reports about Ukrainian air strikes (in same fashion like Russian: see, ‘spray and pray’), that Ukrainians claimed a Ka-52 as shot down, and that it is the 93rd Mech that’s leading the counterattack on Izium.
Sviatohirsk-Slovyansk….After four days of bitter assaults, the Russians have captured Bohorodichne. Then it turned out that they’ve lost whatever they have reached in Dolyna, and thus they’re now attacking the same from three directions. A village of about 1,000 attacked by three Russian tactical armies…. enough said.
Severodonetsk… while the Russians are guessing if they have ‘encircled’ 500 or 2,000 Ukrainian troops in the Azot Works’, Ukrainians brought in elements of the 112th Brigade TD and run a local counterattack towards north.
Popasna Bulge…after failing to reach T1302, or at least to capture Zolote and Toshkivka, the Russians have lost Nahirne and Bilohorivka, and seem to be on the best way of losing Vasylivka and Nyrkove. The Rusians claim to have captured Vrubivka, and half of Kmyshuvakha, to have attacked Berestove (where Ukrainians say this assault was promptly repelled), and, few kilometres further south, the Russians to have reached Vershyna, on the M-03 Highway to Bakhmut: indeed, they claim that they have already captured the same. If truth, this would be bad news for Ukrainian troops holding the frontline further south, in the area between Myronivka and Semyhirja, because their main supply link would have been cut off.
Avdiivka…think that the Separatist complains about this place being held by ’15,000 fanatic Ukro-Nazis’ is telling all there needs to be said. BTW, reasons for complaints is that it is ‘from this general direction’ that Ukrainians are shelling railways of Donetsk, the last few days: tragically, that’s causing lots of civilian casualties, too.
Ukrainians keep on pushing in direction of Kherson, still on a wide front — for better dispersion, necessary because of superior Russian artillery — and thus still slowly. Reason for slow speed: nearly everything is done by infantry, and then foremost in form of infiltrations by night — to which the RFA is finding no effective response. The Russians are not trained to fight by night, and do not like this kind of combat. Current Ukrainian targets seem to be Snihurivka, Velyka Oleksandrivka, Starosillya, Kyselivka (is in the process of being mopped up, but RUMINT has it they are actually further south-east), and Mykolivka. They might have liberated Olaksandrivka and Stanislav in the south, and RUMINT has it that an attack on Tomyna Balka is already underway. Furthermore, yesterday, Ukrainians claimed a VKS Ka-52 shot down ‘in the Kherson Oblast’. BTW, a Russian depot in Nova Kakhovka was blown up yesterday. Reason is unclear.
Comment: Just to shake things up a little, this is an update on the war from someone other than ISW. Tom Cooper is an Austrian aerial warfare analyst and historian. He’s written a lot on air forces in the Mideast including the Russian Aerospace Force operations in Syria.
He makes some interesting points about night fighting on the Kherson front. I’ve read other accounts that much of the fighting there consists of small night patrols and night infantry attacks. I’m familiar with these tactics. They are characterized by stealth and small unit initiative. We only had a few AN/PVS-1 and AN/PVS-2 starlight scopes to aid us. Even in SF, we only used the monocular night vision goggles. I only saw the real good stuff when I was in a SMU. Today’s announcement of the latest tranche of weapons and equipment going to Ukraine includes thousands of night vision devices, thermal sights, and other optics… the good stuff. This could end up being as critical to future Ukrainian counteroffensives as the artillery, MLRS and tanks being sent east.
BTW, this Tom Cooper put out an English translation of a fine little French article on Kropyva (Nettles), a Ukrainian home grown artillery networking application that I mentioned in an earlier post. This network relies on SATCOM to function. When the Russians knocked out the Viasat satellite broadband network on the first day of the war, Kropyva also went down. Elon Musk immediately came to the rescue with Starlink and keeps it working in the face of Russian efforts to disrupt it. Kropyva continues to function over Starlink with deadly efficiency. Small wonder that Elon’s not a favorite in the Kremlin.