Ukrainian officials on Wednesday said its forces liberated the town of Urozhaine in Donetsk Oblast. The 35th Separate Brigade of the Marine Corps released video on Wednesday it says depicts that liberation. The video shows Russian troops fleeing from the the town, followed by its own troops putting up the Ukrainian flag.
"To be continued. Next, there will be victory," the troops say, according to the Kyiv Post.
"Soldiers of the 35th Brigade, together with their comrades of the 38th Separate Marine Brigade, as well as other units of Ukrainian forces, have liberated Urozhaine in Donetsk Oblast within the framework of the counteroffensive operation," the brigade wrote on Facebook, according to the Kyiv Post.
The name of the city means "of the harvest" in Ukrainian.
"The harvest was released," Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said on her Telegram channel Wednesday. "Our defenders are entrenched at the borders. The offensive continues."
The Russian Defense Ministry (MoD) said its forces inflicted damage on Ukrainian troops there, but did not dispute the Ukrainian claim.
"The Vostok Group of Forces' forward units, supported by artillery and aviation, launched attacks at the enemy militants near Urozhaine," the Russian MoD said. "One armored vehicle, one infantry fighting vehicle, four strongholds and the enemy manpower concentration areas were destroyed."
The liberation of Urozhaine, which sits along the Mokri Yaly River, represents the latest push southward for Ukraine through Donetsk. Last month, Ukrainian troops liberated the town of Staromayorsk, a key logistics node in the oblast a little more than a half-mile away.
Urozhaine is also a little more than 50 miles north of Mariupol, the recapture or isolation of which is an objective for the Ukrainian counteroffensive.
The capture of Urozhaine is another small step in Ukraine's ongoing counteroffensive. Whether it leads to something bigger remains to be seen.
Before we head into the latest news from Ukraine, The War Zone readers can catch up on our previous rolling coverage of the war here.
Elsewhere on the battlefield, more visual evidence is emerging on social media of the presence of the elite Ukrainian 82nd Airborne Assault Brigade fighting in Zaporizhzhia Oblast near the town of Robotyne. That's located about 50 miles southwest of Urozhaine.
The brigade has U.S.-donated Stryker armored vehicles, U.K. donated Challenger 2 tanks and German-donated Marder infantry fighting vehicles. Video of a Challenger and an image of a Marder deployed with the 82nd have been posted on Twitter in recent days.
As we suggested yesterday, it appears that Ukraine is trying to exploit an opening in the Roboytne-Verbove sector of the front.
The first indication of the brigade's presence in the area came yesterday, through a video wrote about of a Stryker being hit by a Lancet drone.
It was unclear from the video of that incident what happened to the Stryker, because the vehicle was still moving as it cut off.
But Wednesday, the Oryx open-source tracking group for the first time added a Stryker to its list of Ukrainian equipment losses.
The group, which only tabulates items for which is has visual confirmation, listed the Stryker as “damaged” and used yesterday’s video as proof.
The Russians on Wednesday claimed they’ve destroyed more Strykers near Robotyne.
“The fighting in Robotyne continues, our unit has already destroyed 3 STRYKER infantry fighting vehicles with personnel,” the Russian Archangel of the Special Forces Telegram channel claimed. It posted video of what it says are those vehicles. However, it is unclear from the video just how many Strykers were actually hit.
The War Zone could not independently verify those claims.
Ukraine, meanwhile, appears be having some degree of success in that area, at least according to Russian Telegram.
“The situation is assessed as ‘severe,’” Archangel of the Special Forces reported Wednesday. The channel has close ties to the Russian military, especially its special operations forces.
If you ever wanted to see what it was like to be in a High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (Humvee) hit a mine during combat, check out this video below. It shows several Ukrainian troops dismounting while the turret gunner spits through numerous rounds whose spent casings fall back into the vehicle. At the 39-second mark, there is a bright flash that appears to be the Hummer hitting a mine. That's followed by plumes of gray smoke as the driver, the truck commander and the gunner climb out of the destroyed vehicle.
The crew of this Ukrainian tank seems to have lived a charmed life as it motored through a crater-pocked open field during the day, firing its main gun while dodging Russian artillery rounds. The 122-second video, which looks like a real-life version Whack-A-Mole, ends with the tank traveling a path paralleling a river and then cuts out. So we never really know its fate.
Troops from the Lyut assault brigade of the National Police of Ukraine are seen in this video below clearing out what looks like a destroyed farmhouse near Bakhmut in Donetsk Oblast. They fire on the ruined structures, advance toward it and then enter and clear what looks like a cellar.
The first civilian vessel to sail through the Black Sea via Ukraine’s newly created “humanitarian corridor” left the port of Odesa Wednesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced on Twitter.
The vessel, which Zelensky did not name, is heading toward the Bosphorus, he said.
Ukraine on Thursday announced that new corridor to release cargo ships trapped in its ports since the outbreak of the full-on war. It’s a new test of Russia's de facto blockade since Moscow last month abandoned the Black Sea Grain Initiative, hammered out last year to allow grain and other food and fertilizer to be shipped out via Ukraine's Black Sea ports of Odesa, Chornomorsk, and Yuzhny.
Hours before Zelensky's announcement, another wave of Russian drone attacks on Danube River ports damaged grain storage facilities, but caused no injuries, senior Ukrainian officials said Wednesday.
Russians attacked the region with drones twice overnight, Odesa Oblast Gov. Oleh Kiper said Wednesday on his Telegram channel.
“The main goal is port and grain infrastructure in the south of the region,” he said. “As a result of enemy strikes on one of the Danube ports, warehouses and granaries were damaged.”
Kiper did not name the port, but Andriy Yermak, head of the office of the president of Ukraine said the attack took place at the port of Reni. Russian drones hit two metal warehouses there, damaging two tractors and setting fire to grain, Yermak said.
Both Kiper and Yermak posted photos on Telegram showing destroyed warehouses with grain spilling out.
Meanwhile, video of the attack taken from across the river in NATO ally Romania emerged on social media. The video shows air defense tracers flying skyward, followed by what appears to be an explosion at the port. The Odesa Official Telegram channel said that 13 Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones were destroyed in the Odesa region, but it did not say how many got through.
Iranian-made drone attacks by Russia, like the ones last night in the Odesa region, have caused widespread death and destruction across Ukraine. Now it appears the Biden administration is trying to convince Iran to cease supplying Russia with those weapons.
“The U.S. is pushing Iran to stop selling armed drones to Russia as part of discussions on a broader ‘unwritten understanding' between Washington and Tehran to de-escalate tensions and contain a long-simmering nuclear crisis,” Financial Times reported Wednesday. “The Biden administration has raised the issue with the Islamic regime at indirect talks in Qatar and Oman this year, according to people briefed on the matter.”
News is now emerging that Surovikin - known as “General Armageddon” for his brutal bombardment tactics in Syria that he later carried out in Ukraine - is being forced to stay out of sight at his home.
Politico on Tuesday noted that the VChK-OGPU Telegram channel, which is considered close to Russia’s security forces, reported late Sunday that Surovikin “is now ‘under a kind of house arrest’ where he can’t leave the apartment he is being kept in, but has been permitted visitors, including several of his subordinates.”
Given how close Prigozhin came to successfully reaching Moscow, that Surovikin is still alive is interesting to say the least.
Another Russian air defense system was reportedly destroyed by a Ukrainian M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS. This time it was a 9K33 Osa (SA-8 Gecko) mobile short-range air defense system (SHORADS). It was struck near the town of Ulyanivka in the southern part of Russian-occupied Kherson Oblast, about 35 miles from Ukrainian-held territory.
There was also another reported HIMARS attack on Russian forces in occupied Kherson Oblast, this time along the Black Sea coast about 30 miles from the frontlines near a town called Prymorske. The target in this case appeared to be a Russian training base. A number of troops tried to hide in a building there, but it appears to have received a direct hit. This incident took place about 30 miles southwest of where the 9k33 Osa air defense system in the video above was hit.
Russia is carrying out military exercises on the grounds of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. The action was captured in video posted Tuesday on the Russian ProjectRHBZ Telegram channel. It shows troops dismounting from armored vehicles and trucks, taking up firing positions, conducting radioactivity sweeps and even practicing tourniquet techniques.
"Our fighters do not forget about combat training, working out all kinds of situations with an attack by enemy [sabotage and reconnaissance] groups," ProjectRHBZ reported.
And finally, it appears that Ukraine has a new battlefield commander briefing the president.
That's it for now. We'll update this story when there's more news to report about Ukraine.
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