Day 549: Aug 26
Today, there are a lot of important updates from the Kherson region.
Last time, I told you that Ukrainians identified an area where Russians relocated mobilized troops who turned out to be completely unfamiliar with the region, immediately exploited it by focusing on hunting down the inexperienced forces, and after the Russian battalion lost up to 25% of its personnel, Ukrainians conducted a landing operation, breached the Russian defense, and even took captive the commander of this battalion.
At first, Ukrainians were successfully advancing and even took half of the village of Kozachi Laheri. A Ukrainian presence on the eastern bank of the river put significant pressure on the Russian commanders to resolve the issue by any means.
Most of the Russian reserves came from the south and arrived at Pidstepne. Unfortunately for Russians, just increasing the number of troops was not enough, as Ukrainians have a tactical advantage – the western bank of the river is much higher, which is why it allows to control the Russian movement near the river completely.
Geolocated footage shows how Ukrainian drone operators started destroying the inflowing reserves before they even got to their positions. Ukrainians released multiple videos of how they blew up Russian cars to the north of Pidstepne. Russians lost so much equipment due to drone strikes that they brought into the region an armored recovery vehicle, BREM-1, to evacuate damaged equipment and an air defense system against low-flying aircraft. Both pieces of equipment were also destroyed by Ukrainian drones. In order to complicate Russian counterattacks, Ukrainians also conducted a HIMARS strike and destroyed a Russian ammunition depot.
Nonetheless, Russians continued to push and soon outnumbered Ukrainians at least 10 to 1. Ukrainian commanders had to reevaluate the situation. The commanders discovered that in an attempt to stabilize the situation around Kozachi Laheri, Russian forces made a large overcorrection and increased the concentration of forces in this sector at the expense of other directions, so after holding the bridgehead for almost a week, Ukrainians withdrew from the central part and immediately attacked Russians to the north and south.
This was a very good decision that immediately brought results. Russian troops on the islands were left virtually with no artillery, mortars or drones. Such a setting allowed Ukrainians to conduct raids virtually with impunity – Ukrainians would launch artillery preparation, force Russians to hide while they got to the island on boats, assaulted their positions, and even took captives.
Russian soldiers became so desperate in the face of certain death that they started flooding Russian military bloggers with reports and evidence and asking them to raise this question as soon as possible in hopes that the public pressure would force the commander of the 205th Brigade to finally do something about it. And the Russian commander of the 205th Brigade has already become notorious for killing some of the best fighters in suicidal assaults near the Antonivskyi Bridge.
Russian soldiers revealed that the average lifespan of a company under such conditions became 2 days, and Russians were losing more than 50 troops per day due to the constant raids. And all commanders of the companies who refused to send their troops on a one-way trip were immediately fired. One company stood up for their commander, but now they are facing criminal charges for mutiny. Another commander who tried to evacuate his troops from the island was not only stopped but sent to a psychiatric hospital.
Russian analysts said that such an unbelievable mess was caused by the brigade and battalion commanders, who got their positions not because of their military experience, which they do not have, but because they never challenge the instructions given by the Russian Ministry of Defense, always produce good reports, and are excellent at hiding real losses.
This is extremely good news for Ukrainians, who are exploiting this opportunity to the fullest extent. The goal here is to push the whole Russian 205th Brigade to the point where it completely loses its combat capability. This will either force Russians to relocate troops from the Tokmak direction, or Russians will lose control over the eastern bank of the river entirely.