Drone-controlled artillery strikes devastated Russian Federation (RF) attempts to cross a critical river in the northern Luhansk sector, inflicting crippling casualties and halting a priority Kremlin offensive in its tracks, several sources said. sources Thursday.
A May 12 statement from the General Staff of the Ukrainian Army (AGS) said that UAF units defending the line of the Siviersky River, north of the priority RF objective towns Sloviansk and Kramatorsk, have captured RF armored columns in the open with heavy artillery and rockets. , as they attempted to cross pontoon bridges north of the village of Belohorodivka.
Footage of the heavily forested crossing area, originally released by satellite company BlackSky and widely reposted by official Ukrainian sources and independent media, showed floating RF bridges broken and punctured by direct hits from high-caliber munitions and hulks. of burned bodies. RF tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and trucks, littering both sides of the ford. Remains of other vehicles were visible underwater.
Serhiy Haidai, head of the Lugansk region’s defense administration, said in a television interview on the evening of May 11 that Ukrainian intelligence believed that RF units had lost more than 30 armored vehicles and more of 400 men attempting to cross the river. About 80 lightly armed infantry and RF vehicles managed to reach the south bank of the river in small disorganized groups, and regular UAF infantry backed by home defense units are tracking them, Haidai said.
“The Racistkies try to cross the river, but they only feed the fish… with their corpses. Our troops are killing the orcs (RF service personnel) like flies,” Haidai said.
The generally conservative AGS said UAF forces fighting in the Lugansk and Donetsk regions over the past 24 hours repelled nine separate RF attacks and destroyed eight tanks, six infantry fighting vehicles, five trucks, an anti-aircraft system and four heavy Orlan-10 reconnaissance drones. .
Oleskiy Arestovych, an adviser to the presidential administration who frequently appeared in the media to present positive information about the course of the war, in television comments on the evening of May 11 claimed that the RF had suffered a crippling defeat on the Siviersky Donets which, effectively, will put an end to any chances of success of the RF offensive of Donbass.
The Kremlin offensive on the Donbass, launched at the end of April, has the strategic objectives, according to official declarations from Moscow, of taking full control of the Ukrainian regions of Luhansk and Donetsk and encircling and annihilating more than 10,000 UAF soldiers further east. RF forces had been trying to force their way through the Siviersky Donets for more than a week as part of the main effort of this encirclement plan, UAF officials said.
Kremlin-controlled state media, which in recent days had repeatedly stated that UAF defenses along the Siviersky Donets line had been demolished and RF units were crossing the river and advancing rapidly south against little of resistance, were, on Thursday, circumspect and modest in their reporting.
“We (the RF forces) had a small advance south of Yampol (village). But getting into Belohoridivka and digging, it seems, did not work out,” pro-RF Telegram news platform Readovka said.
A May 12 British Ministry of Defense statement said fierce fighting and fierce UAF resistance in the Sieviersky Donets sector, along with heavy RF casualties, forced the Kremlin to transfer reinforcement troops from the western sector. from Kharkiv, allowing UAF forces to advance almost unopposed.
State-controlled RF media and official Ukrainian sources said fighting was ongoing between UAF forces advancing north from Kharkiv towards the town of Kozachi Lopan, less than a kilometer from the border. of the Kharkiv region with Russia.
RF units were carrying out a rearguard action in the village of Rubizhne, a village in the Kharkiv region controlling another bridge over the Siviersky Donets river. If the UAF crossed it, they would threaten a critical RF logistics, supply and railway center in the town of Vovchansk, also on the RF border.