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Bakhmut getting closer. How the Ukrainian Armed Forces defeat Russians on land and at sea: Frontline overview

Bakhmut getting closer. How the Ukrainian Armed Forces defeat Russians on land and at sea: Frontline overview Photo: Ukrainian military approach closer to the captured Bakhmut (Getty Images)

Ukrainian forces liberated two villages near Bakhmut last week and struck several ships of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. More details on the situation on the front are in the RBC-Ukraine overview.

During the preparation of the material, the following sources were used: General Staff summaries, statements from official spokespersons, data from British intelligence, analysis by the American Institute for the Study of War (ISW), maps by the Deep State project, as well as comments from military experts for RBC-Ukraine.

Lyman-Kupiansk axis. Russians fizzled out, plans failed

The Russian advance has actually stalled. Along the line from Lyman to Kupiansk, the enemy has advanced at most 1-2 kilometers, and not everywhere. In a month, they haven't managed to capture a single settlement, and the fighting has taken on a positional character.

Chief spokesperson for the group East, Illya Yevlash, announced relative calm in recent days. This means that there are almost no direct clashes, and the Russian focus has shifted to artillery and aviation. According to him, the enemy abandoned offensive actions after "taking it in the neck."

"Specifically, near Novoiehorivka (in the Svatove district of Luhansk region)," he specified.

Bakhmut getting closer. How the Ukrainian Armed Forces defeat Russians on land and at sea: Frontline overviewThe frontline on the Lyman-Kupiansk axis is stable, with relative calm observed (photo

Analysts from the Deep State project noted weak attempts by the Russians to seize the initiative near Novoiehorivka, as well as recorded the destruction of a storming column slightly south of Novovodyane. Currently, the line of confrontation has stabilized, and the enemy has lost a lot of manpower and reduced its pace.

Heavy losses forced them to change tactics. Instead of the so-called "meat grinder" assaults, artillery is now being used, but with less intensity – the enemy has to conserve ammunition and refrain from fiery onslaughts. However, reinforcements are coming, and the Defense Forces are ready for any development of events.

As for weapons, the Russians are using T-90 tanks and Solntsepek systems, Soviet-era models that should have been decommissioned long ago and are facing personnel problems, added Yevlash.

Experts in conversation with RBC-Ukraine agree: the plans for a major offensive have failed. Russia couldn't divert Ukrainian reserves from the south, force our troops into strategic defense, or even break through to the eastern bank of the Oskil River.

"The failure is even acknowledged by Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, who stated that the army is in active defense. Moreover, the initiative is now on our side. It is our troops that force the enemy to maneuver as we want, not as the occupiers wish," said Oleksandr Musiienko, the Head of the Center of Military Law Researches.

Occupation forces attempted to advance starting from the end of June, first toward Lyman (Donetsk region), then toward Borova and Kupiansk (Kharkiv region). However, the campaign fizzled out without achieving any results.

"Why did all this happen? Because the troop groups Center and West pulled to the axis were not sufficiently equipped and had no capabilities for offensive operations across a wide front, especially when it came to breaking through the Ukrainian defense. They were not prepared, and therefore they won't be able to accomplish anything," explained Oleksandr Kovalenko, a military-political expert from the Information Resistance group.

Bakhmut. Blue-yellow flags on the southern flank

The Armed Forces of Ukraine have achieved intermediate successes to the south of Bakhmut. Our advance is now proceeding along the line of Klishchiivka-Andriivka-Kurdiumivka, and last week the Defense Forces captured the first two settlements.

Initially, on September 15, the General Staff announced the liberation of Andriivka. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy commented on the news, calling it a significant and much-needed result. Within a few days, the fighters of the 3rd separate assault brigade raised the Ukrainian flag above the village.

Бахмут дедалі ближче. Як ЗСУ б'ють росіян на суші та на морі: огляд фронту

The Ukrainian flag has returned to Andriivka (photo

In the battles for Andriivka, our troops managed to encircle and defeat the 72nd separate motorized rifle brigade of the Russian Federation. Almost all infantry, along with officers, three commanders, and the brigade's intelligence chief, were eliminated.

On September 17, the 80th separate airborne assault brigade of the Armed Forces liberated Klishchiivka. The spokesperson for the group East, Ilya Yevlash, emphasized that this would provide a foothold for further advancement. The operation lasted for several months.

The southern flank is conventionally divided into the southwestern and southeastern sectors, with the T0513 highway running between them from the occupied Bakhmut to Horlivka. The current successes relate to the southwestern sector with the Russian defensive line along the stretch of Klishchiivka, Andriivka, and Kurdyumivka.

"Not just Kurdyumivka, because it is a small agglomeration along with the villages of Zelenopillia and Ozeryanivka. Andriivka and Klishchiivka have already been liberated; only Kurdyumivka remains. Then the entire enemy's defensive line in this sector will come under the control of the Ukrainian Defense Forces," explained Oleksandr Kovalenko to RBC-Ukraine.

According to him, the last dominant heights are located in the Klishchiivka area. Thus, the Russians will be forced to take positions in the lowlands, essentially being at a disadvantage.

"Everything suggests that they will gradually withdraw toward T0513, and the highway will become their defensive line. After our forces liberate Kurdiumivka, the direction to the southeastern sector with the key point in Zaytseve will open up," he emphasized.

Bakhmut getting closer. How the Ukrainian Armed Forces defeat Russians on land and at sea: Frontline overview

The defense forces are expected to take control of the entire southwestern sector on the outskirts of Bakhmut shortly (

It's not advisable to talk about operational successes in this section of the front yet. The liberation of two completely destroyed settlements is a tactical episode. However, it undoubtedly sets the stage for further eastward movement, according to military expert Vladyslav Seleznov.

According to him, when the Ukrainian army cuts off the Horlivka-Bakhmut highway, the Russians will have to use alternative routes, which will increase logistical difficulties. However, it's still too early to talk about the readiness for the operational encirclement of Bakhmut.

"They have concentrated a large number of enemy resources, and the enemy is putting up serious resistance. But we see that our army is demonstrating positive dynamics even in the face of the numerical superiority of the Russian Federation," he said in an interview.

As official spokespeople note, offensive operations are being conducted without additional resources. While the occupying force consists of 52,000 individuals, 274 tanks, over 1,000 armored vehicles, 150 artillery systems, and over 120 MLRS.

"This is more than enough not only for defense but also for counterattacks. We still have time until the end of the first decade of October. But I advise not to set overly high expectations; the situation is very dynamic. The development over the next 4-6 weeks will depend on the resource capabilities of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. If reserves are available, we will move forward. If not, we will dig in, bring in artillery, air defense means, and repel enemy counterattacks," added Seleznov.

Initiative near Donetsk. Russians are pushing near Maryinka

After our troops partially entered the village of Opytne near the occupied Donetsk, the Defense Forces continued to maintain the initiative in the Avdiivka and Shakhtarsk directions.

According to analysts from the American Institute for the Study of War (ISW), Ukrainian forces conducted limited ground strikes and advanced in the Avdiivka-Donetsk area, particularly near Krasnohorivka.

Meanwhile, the Russians are attempting to advance near Maryinka. The spokesperson for the Unified Press Center of the Defense Forces of the Tavria direction, Oleksandr Shtupun, stated that their assault troops attack from 10 to 15 times daily.

Experts from the Deep State project do not report any changes. According to their data, attempts to improve the tactical situation have been unsuccessful, and our artillery is destroying enemy observation posts in the area of Pervomaiske.

Bakhmut getting closer. How the Ukrainian Armed Forces defeat Russians on land and at sea: Frontline overview

Russians are unsuccessfully trying to push near Maryinka (photo

The Russians have been pushing toward Maryinka for a long time, but without significant results, despite it being nearly destroyed and turned into another 'Ukrainian Hiroshima.' Occasionally, the occupiers may make advances there, although these advances are through ruins and generally ineffective. They will continue to try, but I doubt they will succeed," said Oleksandr Kovalenko to RBC-Ukraine.

The situation in Opytne is somewhat different. Ukrainian forces launched a sudden attack, forcing the Russians to retreat. However, they were unable to secure the settlement.

"The enemy started shelling with such a quantity of artillery that our troops had to withdraw to the outskirts of Opytne and dig in there. The enemy constantly counterattacks and wants to return to positions from two weeks ago. For them, the situation where our army is practically returning to the outskirts of Donetsk is unacceptable," said Vladyslav Seleznov.

Situation in the south and Budanov's forecast

In the context of the breakthrough of the first line of defense near the village of Robotyne, the Russians are preparing for a battle for Tokmak, which will likely become a key point on the second line in the Zaporizhzhia region.

British intelligence reports that the occupiers are deploying additional checkpoints, anti-tank obstacles, and digging new trenches. Given the intensity of their fortifications in Tokmak, the Russian command is seriously concerned about the breakthrough in the south.

However, the Ukrainian Armed Forces have probably not been able to capitalize on their success yet, partly because the enemy is reinforcing its positions. According to British intelligence, about 10,000 Russian paratroopers from the 7th and 76th Airborne Divisions have been thrown to Robotyne as infantry reinforcements for the exhausted ground forces.

Bakhmut getting closer. How the Ukrainian Armed Forces defeat Russians on land and at sea: Frontline overviewThe advance in the triangle of Novoprokopivka-Verbove-Ocheretuvate will be possible after the Russian reinforcement is neutralized (

Expert Oleksandr Musiienko sees this as an attempt to patch up holes in emergency mode.

"Their units demonstrate uncertainty because, despite all the defense lines, additional forces continue to be transferred. This indicates uncertainty about whether they can hold these positions," he noted in the comment to RBC-Ukraine.

However, the "non-targeted" use of paratroopers will slow down the Ukrainian counteroffensive. Oleksandr Kovalenko believes that the primary task will be to neutralize the enemy.

"Only after this human resource is exhausted will we continue to expand our foothold in the areas of Novoprokopivka, Ilchenkove, Solodka Balka, Verbove, and Ocheretuvate. In this triangle, we will make progress," added the expert.

Chief of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense, Kyrylo Budanov, in an interview with The Economist, called the breakthrough of the Russian defense in several places a prerequisite for the Ukrainian Defense Forces to cut off the land corridor to Crimea before winter. In his opinion, Russia lacks strategic reserves to prevent this.

Obviously, the chief of military intelligence voiced an optimistic scenario. According to it, by the end of the year, our troops will not only reach the coast of the Azov Sea but also the administrative border with Crimea. However, everything depends solely on how events unfold in the coming weeks.

"There are chances to do this. Ultimately, their success can be supported by both battlefield successes and the activity of our Western partners in terms of military aid," Musiienko assessed Budanov's forecasts.

It should be noted that since the beginning of the offensive in the south, about 260 square kilometers of territory have been liberated.

Ukraine deals a painful blow to the Russian Black Sea Fleet

During the night of September 13, Ukraine launched a missile strike on the docks of the shipyard Sevmorzavod in the occupied Sevastopol. Critical damage was inflicted on the large landing ship Minsk and the submarine Rostov-on-Don. Judging from the photos, they are most likely out of commission.

Бахмут дедалі ближче. Як ЗСУ б'ють росіян на суші та на морі: огляд фронтуLanding ship Minsk sustained critical damage (photo

It should be noted that the submarine was equipped with Kalibr cruise missiles and was involved in strikes against Ukraine. More details about it can be found in the article "Historic strike: How Ukraine managed to hit a Russian submarine and will the Rostov sail again"

Бахмут дедалі ближче. Як ЗСУ б'ють росіян на суші та на морі: огляд фронту

The submarine Rostov-on-Don, most likely, is out of commission for a long time (photo

Commander of the Air Force Mykola Oleshchuk confirmed that the strike was carried out by British Storm Shadow missiles, which work flawlessly and leave no chance for the enemy. It became known that the attack was coordinated by special operations forces. For this purpose, they approached the shore on boats to a safe location, used underwater means to reach the coast, identified targets, and opened fire.

In a matter of days, the Ukrainian special forces used an experimental kamikaze drone called SeaBaby to disable the missile ship Samum near Sevastopol Bay. Expert Vladyslav Seleznyov rates the results as "excellent."

According to him, the landing ship Minsk has its main deck, where all equipment is located, destroyed and now it is more practical to cut it for scrap rather than repair it. A similar fate awaits the submarine, as there were hits in the area of the hull and closer to the torpedo compartments.

As for the Samum ship, the Russians claim that the kamikaze drone was destroyed. But it seems to me that it was "destroyed" on the right side of the missile ship. It listed heavily to the stern, and it took two tugs to tow it into the bay," he said in a comment to RBC-Ukraine.

He also believes that now the enemy is forced to hide the ships either in Novorossiysk or move them to Kerch, away from the "long arm" of the Ukrainian Defense Forces. Recently, the Navy spokesperson, Dmytro Pletenchuk, announced that three landing ships had already deployed into the Azov Sea.

The damage to any Russian ship enhances security in the Black Sea, not only for Ukraine but also for foreign vessels entering the waters, according to expert Oleksandr Kovalenko.

"The destruction of almost all units of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, which is turning into a flotilla, becomes one of the main objectives. This applies not only to Kalibr missile carriers and landing ships but also to small FSB boats and so on. Hitting a missile carrier – great, hitting a large or medium landing ship – great, hitting a submarine – the same," he concluded.