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The Fight for Vuhledar

January 28, 2023 – Heavily damaged blocks of apartment buildings line up the streets of the Ukrainian town of Vuhledar – the scene of intense recent fighting. Drone footage released on Friday (January 27) showed extensive damage across the Ukrainian town of Vuhledar with many buildings damaged by Russian shelling. The Sun was able to confirm the location from the buildings and roads seen in the video which matched satellite and file imagery of the area. The Sun was not able to independently confirm the date the video was filmed.

January 29, 2023 – War in Ukraine. Why is Russia attacking Vuhledar? The situation around Bakhmut | Map Update

January 31, 2023 – Macron is meeting Ukraine’s defense minister today in Paris to discuss, among other things, possible deliveries of aircraft. Ukraine says getting those fighter jets is the next big hurdle for Ukrainian forces after they secured the delivery of those new battle tanks last week. Ukraine said it had repelled assaults on Vuhledar and Blahodatne, a village just north of Bakhmut. The administrator of Russian-controlled parts of Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk province, Denis Pushilin, said Russian troops had secured a foothold in Vuhledar. FRANCE 24’s Alison Sargent reports.


February 10, 2023 – Over 30 vehicles, including tanks and BMPs are confirmed lost in Russia’s offensive to capture Vuhledar.

February 11, 2023 – Ukrainian drone drops bombs on Russian tanks destroying over 30 of them, according to Russian estimation. Video evidence shows Russia have suffered catastrophic military losses after its armored vehicles were ambushed in Vuhledar. A column of dozens of tanks was lost and damaged, with many troops killed in strategic attack. Russian troops are seen in aerial footage fleeing under sustained aerial bombardment by the Ukrainians. One Russian estimate was that Vladimir Putin’s forces had lost 31 armored vehicles in the carnage at Vuhledar, known to the Russians as Ugledar.

February 13, 2023 – The eastern front has seen some of the heaviest fighting in Ukraine. Russian and Ukrainian sources say that the Russian mechanized brigade trying to push through the town of Vuhledar saw significant losses recently. CNN’s David McKenzie has more.

February 13, 2023 – Satellite images show hundreds of craters plus abandoned vehicles after the attempt to capture Vuhledar.

February 13, 2023 – Vuhledar, Ukraine military update.

February 15, 2023 – Russia has geared up for a renewed attempt to seize large areas of Ukrainian territory. Intense fighting around Vuhledar is seen as the opening engagements of Russia’s major new offensive. The escalating confrontation looks set to cause a major rise in casualties, heralding a new, bloody stage in the war. However, Russia’s losses — and failure to advance — in Vuhledar suggest they may not have much success.

A spokesperson for the Tavriskiy district of Ukrainian forces said Russia has likely lost a “5,000-strong elite brigade” in its attempt to take Vuhledar. The Ukrainian Armed Forces last week destroyed what appeared to be a Russian convoy near Vuhledar consisting of elite troop units. How is Zelensky’s forces are defending the town of Vuhledar from Russia’s elite units? Watch this video to know more.

February 15, 2023 – Ukrainian forces are now locked in fierce fighting on the front lines in the east of Ukraine, where they say Russian troops are continuing offensives from the air and on the ground. CNN’s David McKenzie reports.

February 27, 2023 – Sky’s Alex Rossi joins Ukrainian soldiers who are defending the key eastern battleground town of Vuhledar. Around 1,000 residents remain in the mining town, collecting rainwater from roof gutters to survive. The area is surrounded by a network of trenches where Ukrainian soldiers fend off the waves of attacking Russian troops. Fighters told Sky News the Russians are advancing over the bodies of their colleagues who have been killed in firefights.

February 28, 2023 – As Ukraine’s biting winter begins to turn into spring, the war in the east is exacting a heavy toll on both sides. In Bakhmut, Russian forces appear to have the advantage, having laid waste to the town but as yet failing fully to control it. While in Vuhledar, a rail and road hub 100 miles to the south, the Ukrainians retain the upper hand for now. Our International Editor Lindsey Hilsum spent the day with the 68th Brigade on the front lines close to Vuhledar and sent this report.

March 2, 2023 – Ukrainian soldiers fighting in the eastern region of Donetsk near Vuhledar said on February 28 they were seeing Russian infantry and tank attacks “almost every day” but are still holding their ground. Attacks have continued, even as enemy bodies and burned-out vehicles accumulate.

March 9, 2023 – I am a Ukrainian. My country has been invaded by Russia. In this video I will tell you what happened on the 379th day of the war. Today the biggest news is coming from the Donetsk region. Here, after losing almost all armor and half the brigades, Russian marines were ordered to launch another offensive on Vuhledar. This order likely was the last straw because Russian marines refused to fight and follow orders from their commanders. Other battalions deployed to Vuhledar started rioting as well and forced the Russian Ministry of Defense to use tough measures and send Rosgvardia in response to the mutiny. Last time I told you that in the aftermath of the Battle for Vuhledar, almost the entire Russian elite naval brigade was destroyed, and Russia lost 130 units of heavy equipment, including 36 tanks. I also told you that due to the extensive losses of armor, Russians became only capable of attacking with infantry.

The freshest reports suggest that Russians are engaging in low-intensity positional fights. Ukrainian commander, Dmytrashkivskyi, confirmed that Russian forces are increasingly conducting assaults without armored support and that sometimes when they do engage armored personnel carriers, they just drive infantry to the frontline for dismounted assaults and then withdraw. A Ukrainian soldier fighting in Vuhledar stated that Russian forces conduct assaults in small groups of 10 soldiers or fewer but are largely on the defensive in the area. Ukrainian Intelligence reported that the Russian 155th and 40th Naval Infantry Brigades have merged into one brigade because of significant losses. Ukrainian Intelligence also reported that Russian Defense Minister Shoigu instructed Eastern Military District commander Muradov to take Vuhledar at any cost.

Shortly after that, some information started emerging that the Russian 155th Naval Infantry Brigade refused to conduct offensive operations in the area and that Russian forces had also lost control over an irregular Cossack battalion formation. This information was later confirmed by Ukrainian General Staff. This is not surprising because this would be the third large-scale suicide operation for them. Russian forces have reportedly reconstituted the 155th Naval Infantry Brigade at least seven times since the start of the invasion, and it was refilled with newly mobilized soldiers several times. The fact that naval brigades were merged suggests that at least half of them are dead, and if we also consider that they were refilled 7 times, then apparently, the number of the remaining elite troops is likely below 10%. In response to the refusal to fight and in an attempt to prevent other personnel from rioting, Russian forces deployed Rosgvardia in the region.

Shortly after that, the Russian Minister of Defense Shoigu visited the regional commander Muradov for the purpose of evaluating the situation around Vuhledar. He likely saw that the use of squad-size assault groups and significant Russian personnel and equipment losses in previous assaults would constrain Russian forces from securing any significant gains in the Vuhledar area because later, he ordered to transfer additional reserves of manpower and equipment for renewed offensive operations. Several days ago, locals reported that Russians were transferring a lot of equipment through Mariupol and Berdiansk. Ukrainian Mariupol Mayoral Advisor confirmed that Russians moved 28 pieces of equipment, accompanied by 6 civilian cars with luggage and trailers. He said that most of them had the manpower.

He added that Russia is also building up forces at barracks and settlements on roads leading to frontline positions and that Russia had brought an extra 10,000–15,000 troops to Mariupol and its outskirts. He noted that Russian forces reportedly have 30,000 troops in the greater Mariupol area. Two days later, Ukrainians conducted an extensive fire mission, primarily targeting the areas of forces concentrations but also equipment because repelling mechanized assaults from such a small town as Vuhledar is very difficult. Ukrainian Head of Melitopol reported that Ukrainians conducted a HIMARS strike and destroyed Russian bases in the vicinity of the city: one in the northern part and one in the southern. The next day, huge explosions were reported in Berdyansk, which is exactly where Russian columns were headed.

March 14, 2023 – Russian forces appear to have rained incendiary munitions on the Ukrainian town of Vuhledar. Videos of the alleged attack show brightly burning metals raining from the sky on the coal-mining town Russia has assaulted for months. Ukraine’s military said earlier this month Russia had lost at least 130 tanks and armored personnel carriers in an extended battle in Vuhledar. Watch the video to find out what weapons were used in the attacks.


March 14, 2023 – Russian Losses in Vuhledar Are MUCH WORSE Than You Think!

March 17, 2023 – Ukraine’s effective use of anti-armor mines has helped stop Russian assaults in the Donetsk region, says UK’s Defense Ministry. The Ukrainians have slowed down the pace of Russian assaults in Vuhledar. One of the reasons for Russian losses has been “Ukraine’s successful adoption of Remote Anti-Armour Mine systems (RAAM). Russian attempts in Vuhledar have “almost certainly slowed” following repeated failed attacks over the previous three months. Ukraine has reportedly launched the mines over and behind advancing Russian units. What are RAAM systems and how are they helping Ukraine hold off Russian troops?

March 19, 2023 – Day 389: Today there are a lot of updates from the Donetsk region. Here, Russian forces attempted to resume their attacks on Vuhledar. They prepared an assault unit and launched an attack to get a foothold in the village in front of the city, but because Ukrainians extensively used RAAM projectiles to mine the area, Russian armor exploded, never reaching the predetermined destination, exposing the infantry to fire. Last time I told you that the Russian command decided to replace the marine brigade due to extensive combat losses and poor morale and started relocating forces through Volnovakha and Mariupol. I also told you that Ukrainians conducted a series of HIMARS strikes, targeting the means of transportation as well as areas of forces concentrations.

The freshest reports suggest that these preventative actions gave results because Russian forces are still engaging the degraded marine detachments for conducting assaults in the Vuhledar area. Simultaneously, some Russian sources started circulating a staged video featuring the marines, who basically said that they would continue to fight until they achieved their objectives. When it comes to the unstaged war footage, it shows that Russian marines from the 155th Naval Infantry Brigade suffer another defeat in yet another assault on the eastern hamlet. Their main objective was to breach the primary line of defense and reestablish positions in the first several blocks.

The ability of Russians to maintain their positions in these ruins is highly doubtful because both parties shelled this region so heavily that there are only ashes left. In any case, the marines didn’t even get close to the village because they got on a mine. British Intelligence reported that Russian advances in this region have slowed down significantly because Ukrainians have successfully adopted Remote Anti-Armor Mine systems or RAAM. RAAM is a specialist artillery shell that scatters anti-armor mines up 17 km away from the firing unit. They noted that Ukrainians are not only launching mines in front of the attackers but also behind them, which causes disarray when they retreat or just move through the areas that they control.

It looks like the marines in the video tripped exactly this type of mine because they were still far away from Ukrainian positions and were spotted by a Russian drone operator who requested support. Russian military analysts critiqued the inadequate preparation for the assaults. They said that almost all unsuccessful Russian attacks here have been caused by explosions of mines, so a continuous lack of engineer reconnaissance in the Vuhledar area is unthinkable. As a result, the Russian attack failed. The infantry that the vehicle was providing cover had to retreat, and everyone inside the vehicle immediately died, apart from the gunner who managed to get out of the burning vehicle and get to several troops that decided to hide in the trenches.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense recently posted an image reportedly of a Russian diary found near Vuhledar that shows huge losses during Russian assaults in the area. The diary details that during assaults over the course of four days, only 57 of the 434 Russian soldiers sent into battles survived, which is just over a 13% survival rate. The latest reports from Ukrainian Intelligence suggest that Russian forces started summoning recently wounded soldiers and telling them that they would refill the separate 37th motorized infantry brigade for unspecified offensive actions during the last week of March.

Overall, the Ukrainian emphasis on mining the approaches to Vuhledar, combined with the continuous failure of Russian forces to implement sound mine-clearing practices, led to extensive losses and an inadvertent culmination of the Russian offensive operation. Timely HIMARS strikes on the crucial areas of forces concentrations ensured amplification of the problems with replenishment of the reserves to the extent that Russians started calling up wounded personnel to plug holes in the front.

June 15, 2023 – A hundred years ago, a unit known as the Black Zaporozhians fought for Ukrainian independence against the Russians. Their descendants later defended their homeland during World War II. Today, the 72nd Brigade, named after the Black Zaporozhians, is once again fighting for the freedom of their homeland. They are successfully doing so in the most intense areas of the frontline.

July 17, 2023 – The brave fighters of the 72nd Black Zaporozhian Brigade are bravely defending the city of Vuhledar in the Donetsk region. Despite facing relentless attacks from Russian forces, they have successfully held their ground for many months. Not only are they defending, but they have also launched counterattacks against the enemy. Vuhledar is a highly contested area, given its strategic location atop a hill, providing a vantage point to monitor and control the surrounding area. During the course of the war, the city has turned into ruins, yet our soldiers continue to hold it, and our people remain in the basements of destroyed buildings. In this impactful report by Anna Kaliuzhna, you will witness the current state of the battles for Vuhledar and gain insight into why some locals choose to remain in the city.