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Ukraine has stepped up its attack on the Vremivka tactical bridgehead focusing on the settlement of Marakrivka.

Ukraine has substantially increased its artillery, bringing in the 4th Artillery Brigade, the Jaeger brigade, the 82nd Air Assault Brigade (drawn from strategic reserves) and the 3rd Tank Brigade. It has moved one brigade from Kherson over to join the force on the bridgehead. Other brigades also are involved in this operation, making it the heaviest push so far by Ukraine.

The map below shows where the major fighting is going on in this area.  The Russians have committed only a fraction of their forces, and right now they are outnumbered by the many Ukrainian brigades in this operation.

The Russians tried to launch a counter-offensive in the greyed out box on the map but they could only slow the Ukrainians, not drive them back.

The weather in the area is clearing, making air operations (helicopters, drones and aircraft) more effective.  The previous few days there was heavy rain and fog.

This battle is ongoing.  The Russians lost a general, Major General Sergei Goryachev, 52, chief of staff of the 35th Combined Arms Army, who died as a result of a missile strike; most likely his command post was hit by a HIMARS. It is likely he was targeted by US and British spy aircraft operating offshore. The US has been running the Global Hawk RQ-4 drone, a highly capable intelligence drone, and the British brought in the much larger, manned Rivet Joint RC-135 spycraft.

There is no word on the level of casualties or equipment destroyed on either side.

The Ukrainians are still very far from Russia’s first line of defense, which is heavily fortified. The Russian strategy so far appears to be formulated to be costly to the Ukrainians, slowly grinding down their forces and trying to form cauldrons where the Russians can systematically annihilate Ukrainian armor.

The Ukrainians say that the Russians are running out of ammunition, but this may be based on the few days of bad weather rather than anything else.  In any case, Russia has control of the roadways all the way back into Russia proper, so it can reinforce as it chooses.

Other developments

Russia has carried out heavy air attacks including Kyiv.  Some of the attacks were focused on command centers, ammunition storage and petroleum, oil and lubricants sites.

The Ukrainians keep claiming significant progress attacking the Bakhmut flanks, even though almost every report says that Ukrainian forces were driven off and took losses. This is indicative of the need for Kyiv to report only successes at home, even when these statements are divorced from reality. The stepping up of Kiev’s home front propaganda is something you would expect in the frame of a major offensive operation.

The Russians have captured a Leopard tank, apparently undamaged, left by Ukrainian operators with the engine still running. The model of the tank (A4 or A6) has not been declared yet by the Russians, but this is a significant war trophy and a system Russian experts will exploit. The Russians also captured a Bradley fighting vehicle that was not damaged. There is a brief soldier’s video of the capture of this equipment, but it is sketchy and does not reveal the actual time and place.

There is a terrible situation on the Ukrainian side that deserves condemnation. Four Ukrainian soldiers went to retrieve a comrade who was wounded on the battlefield. They were not authorized to do this, and apparently they left the ranks to save their friend. The Ukrainians sent in a Bradley and mowed down the four soldiers and their wounded colleague.The entire episode was captured on video by a Russian drone.

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