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Fri Feb 10, 2023, 06:52 PM Feb 2023

10 Feb: Fatal Mistake. Russians Lose a Tank Battalion in 1 Engagement - Reporting from Ukraine [View all]

Day 352: February 10

In the Vuhledar area, the Russians canceled their assaults in the direction of coal mines and Vuhledar itself and started moving around this town. The primary goal of the Russians here is to cut supplies from Bohoyavlenka, and they can achieve it either by attacking it directly or by penetrating the territory in between. Their secondary goal is to lengthen the front line and force the Ukrainians to stretch their forces along the bulge, which should also undermine the ability of the Ukrainians to reinforce Vuhledar.

This is a very questionable decision because the Ukrainians can deliver supplies through Vodiane. Nonetheless, as reported by the Ukrainian General Staff, the Russians started moving in the direction of Bohoyavlenka and Prechystivka. The local geography is also not on the side of the Russians as they are once again attacking from the lowlands. It looks like the Russians took control of the area in front of Shevchenko, got across the river, and launched a powerful attack in an attempt to take the local hills.

Even at first glance, the prospects of assaulting Vuhledar from the west look even grimmer than from the east. From the east, the Russians at least managed to get on the hill by moving from Mykylske, which allowed them to assault Ukrainian positions from the same elevation.

As you might remember, around a week ago, I told you that the Russians moved to Volnovakha dozens of pieces of equipment and a lot of manpower in preparation for a heavy push, and as it turned out, their job would be to penetrate the front line west of Vuhledar. Unfortunately for the Russians, the recent drone footage showed that the Russians lost 13 battle tanks and 12 infantry fighting vehicles in a single engagement, which means that a fresh Russian tank battalion lost its combat capability in one day. A Ukrainian reserve officer also reported that right now, the fights are mostly conducted by ethnic Tatar volunteer battalion instead of Russian marines. This suggests that the Russian marines from the 155th Naval Infantry Brigade sustained insurmountable losses and were replaced. This is not surprising, considering that the Russians had already lost half of the marines in this brigade when they stormed Pavlivka.

This caused a huge scandal, in which all Russian media sources shared a devastating critique of the Russian command, demanding to fire the high-ranked officers. The main point of the critique was that Russian vehicles advanced in one line, which made them a perfect target for the Ukrainian artillery. However, even though there are many ways to assault this region, all of them are bad. These fields stretch for almost 10 km, and they have been densely mined by the Ukrainians, which means that the probability that a vehicle runs into an anti-tank mine is almost 100%. In order to make sure that they make a deep penetration despite the mines, they were ordered to move in a column, betting that the Ukrainians discover them too late. However, the Ukrainians discovered them on time and destroyed them with their artillery.

The total Russian defeat in Vuhledar has ruined the upcoming massive offensive operation. Judging by the number of forces devoted to the region and judging by the fact that the Russians engaged a lot of tanks in each of their attacks, it is clear that they intended to take Vuhledar and not just conduct combat reconnaissance to fix Ukrainian troops. The Russians needed to create a sudden breakthrough here because the Battle for Bakhmut has been going on for so long that the Ukrainians have adjusted, so the fall of Bakhmut is unlikely to change the global setting.
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