The Ukrainians have grabbed the Russians by the collar and they are not letting go.
Ukrainian forces have just liberated Klishchiivka, south of Bakhmut, and are driving successful offensive operations elsewhere in the Bakhmut direction.
This follows hard on the heels of its liberation of the village of Andriivka, about 10 km south of Bakhmut.
These seemingly small settlements were important elements of the defence line of the Russians, which lies through Bakhmut to the settlement of Horlivka. The line of defence, which the Russians were trying to close by deploying all the reserves they had, was breached. Some of the best and most well-trained units of the Russian army have been defeated and lost combat effectiveness on the Bakhmut front: among them are the 72nd Separate Motorised Rifle Brigade, the 31st and the 83rd separate air assault brigades.
In the fighting the Ukrainian forces dealt a crushing blow for example to the Russian 72nd Separate Motor Rifle Brigade. The Russian formation lost its chief of intelligence, three commanders, almost all of its infantry, including officers, and a significant amount of equipment.
The Ukrainian 3rd Assault Brigade added that “As a result of a fulminant operation, the Russian garrison of Andriivka was surrounded, cut off from the main forces, and destroyed.”
The “powerful damage” that was inflicted on the Russian airborne units included the mauling of the Akhmat battalion of the Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who is now dying of a long-term illness.
The win merited a comment from President Zelensky who stated “Today I would like to particularly commend the soldiers who, step by step, are returning to Ukraine what belongs to it, namely in the area of Bakhmut.”
The heavy fight for the villages occurred on higher grounds around Bakhmut. Oleksandr Syrskyi, commander of Ukraine’s ground forces who is also in operational control of the counteroffensive, posted a video of Ukrainian forces displaying the blue and yellow national flag on ruined buildings with the sound of…