One Week Into Ukraine's Counteroffensive — Here's The Day-By-Day Timeline
Ukraine's counter-offensive to liberate Russian-occupied regions has finally begun. Ukrainian news outlet Livy Bereg explains how it's playing out over the first seven days, as the first villages are liberated.
KYIV — Russian troops have been preparing the defense in the occupied territories of Ukraine for almost a year, so Ukrainian troops are facing a difficult task as they begin a long-awaited counter-offensive.
Viktor Kevliuk, an expert at the Ukrainian Center for Defense Strategies, explains the development of the Ukrainian offensive.
The offensive in southern Ukraine has begun, with the line of attack running through the Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk regions towards the Azov Sea coast.
The offensive began, in reality, on June 4. In some parts of the Zaporizhzhia front, the advanced units of the Ukrainian Defense Forces began to probe the enemy's front line more forcefully than usual.
The enemy, nervous about the "Great Counteroffensive," immediately deployed all previously disguised firepower and brought reserves to vulnerable areas. To make it look as though the enemy got it right, on June 5, Ukrainian troops advanced up to three kilometers to the northeast and liberated two villages.
It didn't start yesterday
The next day, on June 6, the Defense Forces advanced northwest, crossed the Shaitanka River and stormed enemy positions near Novodonetske in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine. From there, they drove out the Russian units. The day ended in fighting.
Meanwhile, in Crimea, the Russian Black Sea Fleet transferred command and logistics from Sevastopol to Novorossiysk. On June 7, Russia came to its senses and recaptured some positions.
On June 8, the Defense Forces tried unsuccessfully to advance to settlements to the south and southwest, but the explosion of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant significantly shortened the front line, and Russia moved 12-15,000 of its best troops from the Kherson region to vulnerable areas.
June 8, 2023: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in an emergency session of regional administration officials in Kherson, Kherson Oblast, Ukraine.
On June 9, the Defense Forces advanced in the Zaporizhzhia region to break through the Russian defense. Having taken up different positions, they launched long-range fire attacks on Russian military facilities in Tokmak and Berdiansk. Russian troops responded with air and artillery strikes on the rear ranks of the Defense Forces.
After five days of fighting, the enemy brought the available tactical reserves into the battle and redeployed some operational forces from the neighboring active area. On the Ukrainian side, three brigades are fighting, while another dozen are ready and waiting for their time.
In five days, Ukraine was able to break through the enemy's defense to its full tactical depth in at least five areas. In five days, Russian losses amounted to 5,700 people, 72 tanks, 98 armored personnel carriers, 69 guns and 17 multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS).
During this time, Russia lost two infantry regiments, one with equipment, an artillery brigade, an almost complete tank regiment and a division of MLRS.
Ukrainian crews were saved by reliable Western vehicles and returned to continue the fight. Most of the damaged equipment has been evacuated and will be restored.
June 1, 2023: A Ukrainian serviceman during a training session of the Offensive Guard of the National Guard of Ukraine in the Kharkiv region, Ukraine.
On June 10, the Defense Forces intensified their pressure to the south and southeast in the Zaporizhzhia region. Russian troops repelled two attacks south and southeast of Orikhiv, forcing the retreat of the Defense Forces from their recently seized positions near Lobkove. However, Ukrainian forces partially control the town.
The next day, the Defense Forces drove Russian units out of two positions, advanced slightly to the south, liberated Lobkove once again and advanced to the west and south of it.
On June 12, Ukraine liberated Neskuchne and Makarivka, advanced to the north, liberated Blahodatne and continued fighting in Lobkove and Pyatikhatky. The retreating Russian units blew up a dam on the Mokri Yaly River to stop the Defense Forces' advance in the Donetsk region.
The Defense Forces are building on their success by advancing toward Tokmak, trying to bypass and encircle the enemy in Polohy. Beyond Polohy is the road to Berdiansk (on the coast of the Sea of Azov) and beyond Tokmak is the road to Melitopol (the second largest city in the Zaporizhzhia region). Mechanized brigades will rush in if they break through corridors at least 3-5 km wide. Ukrainian troops have already done this in the Kharkiv region and liberated all of the region's territories.
It would be a mistake to think that the enemy has given up. So far, the Russians have enough reserves to plug breakthroughs, their withdrawal is relatively organized (at least in most areas) and much attention is paid to ensuring command stability.
The most difficult tactical situation for Russia is in the south of the Donetsk region, where the Defense Forces are breaking through, liberating small villages one by one.
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