The Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) reported on Monday, June 26 that its troops have launched a series of short-range assaults across the frontline, gaining ground and scoring modest seizures of multiple locations; in at least one place where they have captured defensive positions held by the Russian military since 2014.
The most successful attacks were led by infantry units in the Bakhmut sector between June 23 and 25, where, in the north and south of city, they advanced the Ukrainian lines 500-1000 meters.
The Kyiv-raised 3rd Assault Brigade, possibly supported by elements of the 24th Aidar Battalion, provided the lead units for multiple armored infantry assaults in the Bakhmut sector, the AFU reports said.
An assault officer, a captain in the 3rd had reported that his unit had advanced more than a kilometer, clearing all Russian troops from the right bank of the Siviersky-Donets canal, a tactically important water barrier near the village of Klishchiivka, 8 kilometers south of Bakhmut.
A battalion of Russia’s 57th Guards Motor Rifle Brigade was put to flight during the battle losing 40 troops killed and, at least 10 captured, with dozens more being wounded or declared as being missing in action, the infantry captain said.
Andriy Biletsky, a Ukrainian political activist and head of the nationalist-patriot group Azov, an organization which contributed many volunteers to the 3rd Assault, when it was formed in Feb. 2022, in a Telegram statement confirmed the Russian losses claiming the battalion “had ceased to exist as a military force.” The Ukrainian 3rd Brigade, which had been highlighted by Kyiv Post as a unit to watch equally confirmed the local victory through social media.
Video and images posted on Telegram and other social platforms showed Russian dead, wounded and POWs geo-linked to the Klishchiivka vicinity. Kyiv Post has yet to be able to fully confirm details as the Ukrainian military bans practically all contact between the independent media and front-line units.
AFU official statements on Sunday generally confirmed the Klishchiivka success without naming the units involved. The Deputy Minister of Defense, Hanna Malyar, said Ukrainian units had also gained ground west of the city Bakhmut, near the villages of Bohdanivka and Yahidne, and near the village of Kumudrivka, to the south.
Video published by the 24th Aidar Battalion showed AFU tanks and armored personnel carriers firing on Russian positions prior to an infantry assault, linking the battle to those locations. Other images showed military equipment, including 10 assault rifles the 24th claimed to have captured in combat, after their Russian owners were killed or put to flight.
Kyiv Post analysis shows that the Ukrainian advance in the Bohdanivka-Yahidne area was probably less than a kilometer, but had recovered ground and positions lost in May.
South of Bakhmut near Donetsk, the largest city occupied by Russian forces, the AFU recovered ground lost to Kremlin troops in 2014 for the first time, advancing approximately half a kilometer capturing “several Russian positions” near the village of Krasnohorivka, an army spokesman said during a national news broadcast on Saturday, June 24.
Valeriy Shershen, press officer for the Tavria Joint Forces Command, confirmed reports that Ukrainian troops had forced Russian units to retreat from defensive fortifications first erected in Feb. 2014, during the Russian Federation’s initial invasion of Ukraine’s Donbas region.
The spokesman said this success marked the first time that Ukrainian forces had recovered ground lost to Russia eight years ago, during the present war. He said that Ukrainian forces had taken the ground “a week ago” but the achievement was not made public immediately for security reasons.
Prior to 2022 Russian forces occupied some 42,000 square kilometers of Ukrainian territory. During 2015-2021, while both Ukraine and Russia paid lip service to a Franco-German “ceasefire” in Donbas, AFU units advanced a few hundred meters in scattered locations.
The highest-profile Ukrainian progress on Monday, June 26 was, according to multiple and official reports, in areas south of the city of Kherson close to a ruined bridge across the Dnipro River where, the reports said, Ukrainian forces were digging in having crossed to left bank of territory formerly held by Russian forces.
The Dnipro’s flow and its strength as a military barrier were devastated on June 6 after Russian troops blew up a massive hydroelectric dam on the river, which triggered short-term flooding of the area. Having returned to its natural flow patterns, the Dnipro valley has, in two weeks, been transformed from being a theoretically impassable water barrier into a rapidly-drying plain potentially no longer able to hamper a Ukrainian attack.
Firefights were seen taking place in the left-bank village Dachi, which is opposite Kherson on the Russian-occupied side of the river on Sunday, June 25. According to some Kremlin-associated Telegram channels Ukrainian troops were in the village in strength and had begun to dig in.
Dachi, located at the southern end of the destroyed Antonovksy Bridge, one of the few rail/road connections across the Dnipro, was destroyed during fighting in October and November. If this could now be held in strength by the AFU it could become the bridgehead for a new Ukrainian axis of advance, in a sector which Russia has, reportedly, thin defenses.
Reports on Monday confirmed Ukrainian troops had control of the village, but could not agree on the scale and intentions of the Ukrainian forces there. Andriy Tsaplenko, a leading Ukrainian war correspondent said a Ukrainian buildup had possibly been in progress for a week. German Kulikovskiy, editor of the pro-Russia Starshe Eddy Telegram channel, said “Our groups are being evacuated from battle in this area, so that they won’t be cut off. Artillery is hitting the enemy. Our guys are waiting for air support.”
In the Zaporizhzhia sector, site of Ukrainian setbacks earlier this month, AFU units scored a possibily significant success on Monday with the capture of the tactically-important town Rivnopil. Malyar in a morning statement announced Ukrainian troops had fully evicted Russian forces there. If the official Ukrainian claim were confirmed capture of Rivnopil would mark an almost tripling in the frontage of advancing Ukrainian forces in an AFU priority attack sector, from a narrow push along the T0518 highway to a 10-km. wide salient into Russian defenses. There was no independent confirmation.
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