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The state of the war’s various fronts Updates to Meduza’s interactive combat map: Ukraine’s Armed Forces have decided to continue the defense of Bakhmut but risk losing the neighboring city of Chasiv Yar
Since the start of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Meduza has adopted a consistent antiwar position, holding Russia responsible for its military aggression and atrocities. As part of this commitment, we regularly update an interactive map that documents combat operations in Ukraine and the damage inflicted by Russia’s invasion forces. Our map is based exclusively on previously published open-source photos and videos, most of them posted by eyewitnesses on social media. We collect reports already available publicly and determine their geolocation markers, adding only the photos and videos that clear this process.
Meduza does not try to track the conflict in real time; the data reflected on the map are typically at least 48 hours old.
The leadership of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has decided to continue its operation to defend Bakhmut. President Volodymyr Zelensky explained that if Russian forces capture the city, they could use the position to advance further, toward Kramatorsk and Sloviansk. It’s not clear, however, how the defenders of Bakhmut will help Kramatosk — the defense of the miles-wide supply corridor between them already eats up significant resources. The waterlogged country roads used to transport supplies and evacuate the wounded are littered with the skeletons of pickups and armored vehicles. Wagner Group artillery reaches the entire corridor, although the private military company has not been able to encircle it fully. Wagner Group mercenaries have captured half of Bakhmut itself, and their ranks are advancing on Chasiv Yar — the most important point for the Ukrainian defense. The Ukrainian military’s most pressing task is holding onto Chasiv Yar, because its capture by Russian forces would pose a real threat to Kramatorsk and Sloviansk.
- Ukraine’s Armed Forces withdrew from the eastern part of Bakhmut, beyond the Bakhmutka River, to the center. Wagner Group is reportedly trying to make a forced crossing of the narrow, shallow river. Wagner can already attack on the western back, though; the group has bridgeheads to the south and north of the city.
- Wagner Group is trying to reach an exit route from the city in the south. If they capture that exit route, Ukrainian forces will lose control of a road running through Ivanivske, which Bakhmut’s defenders use for supplies. Another road, through Khromove, is a two-kilometer (1.2-mile) march from mercenaries’ positions. For now, the Ukrainians are holding their positions in the heights near the city’s exit.
- The defense has held out for several weeks in Ivanivske itself, though the road through Ivanivske is under fire, and the bridge across the Seversky Donetsk–Donbas canal has been blown up. Wrecked Ukrainian equipment lines a small road running along the canal.
- In the north, Wagner Group’s pressure on Khromove, where Ukrainian forces have managed to repair a damaged bridge, has slackened. However, the Russian mercenaries have shifted their focus further north, where they claim to have captured Dubovo-Vasylivka. This creates a new danger for Ukrainian forces: Wagner Group will clearly try to attack Chasiv Yar from Bohdanivka and Orikhovo-Vasylivka and bring down the entire Ukrainian defense.
- Two things could halt the degradation of Ukraine’s defense: a serious offensive by Ukraine, which Wagner boss Evegny Prigozhin says is in the works, or a crisis within Wagner Group, which seems to be locked in a permanent conflict with Russia’s Defense Ministry.
- American military experts who recently visited Bakhmut have expressed concern that its continued defense may yield diminishing returns. Ukrainian casualties in Bakhmut are increasing due to Russian forces breaking through on the northern and southern flanks.
- The Russian military’s renewed offensive against Avdiivka went almost unnoticed against the backdrop of Ukraine’s dramatic defense of Bakhmut. Still, Avdiivka is a large suburb of Donetsk and one of Ukrainian Armed Forces’ most important fortified areas. Since Russian forces occupied fortified areas in Pisky and near a runway at the Donetsk airport (the villages of Vodiane and Opytne), Avdiivka has been partially encircled.
- Russian troops are now advancing toward Opytne and Vodiane from the north of Avdiivka. Their success has been limited, although they’ve reportedly made some progress near Krasnohorivka.
- The main change in the situation, which could have far-reaching consequences, is that Russia’s Air Force, for the first time in a year, is bombing the front lines and the nearest reinforcements. Russia has not carried out such attacks since April 2022, out of fear of losses from Ukraine’s air defenses.
- It’s not entirely clear why Russia has returned to this tactic. It’s possible that Russian command believes that Ukraine’s air defenses are spread out and weakened from Russia’s “strategic bombardment” of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.
- One Sukhoi Su-34 bomber, which was likely taking part in bombardments at the front lines, was shot down over Yenakiieve, 35 kilometers (about 21 miles) from Avdiivka (though it’s not entirely clear under what circumstances or how it was downed). The bombings continued after that. If Russian aircraft can bomb Ukrainian positions and avoid heavy losses, it could seriously alter the situation at the front.
- Ukraine’s Armed Forces seem to be winning the “boat battle” on the Dnipro, in which both sides launched small assault operations on the islands near Kherson. According to the latest footage, Ukraine’s Armed Forces were able to land on Belogrudovo Island, on the eastern bank of the Dnipro.
- Ukraine’s Armed Forces may try to build a small bridgehead on the left bank, if not for a future offensive into Crimea, then at least to draw Russian reserves in this direction.
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