The Russian military prepared on Saturday to attempt another pontoon crossing of a river in eastern Ukraine that provided a formidable barrier to its objectives in the region, the Ukrainian military said, despite the one of his deadliest engagements of the war in a previous attempt this month. .
Russian forces were again setting up bridging equipment near the Seversky Donets River, the Ukrainian military said in its regularly published morning war assessment. He said the Russian army appeared ready to resume an offensive in the region directed against the town of Yampil.
“The enemy has not ceased offensive actions in the eastern area of operation with the aim of establishing full control over the territory of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions,” the assessment said.
The Ukrainian military blew up bridges to force the Russians to build pontoon bridges, a tactic that proved effective and costly for the Russian military. Military forces are particularly vulnerable to artillery strikes as they gather soldiers, armored vehicles and equipment when attempting to cross.
During the first month of the war, the Ukrainians destroyed dozens of Russian armored personnel carriers at a place on the Irpin River, northwest of the capital, kyiv, where the Russian army attempted seven crossings unsuccessful pontoons before retiring.
In the battle for control of the eastern coal-mining region known as Donbass, Russian forces attempted several pontoon crossings of the Seversky Donets, seen as an important tactical step towards the objective of encircling a pocket of Ukrainian troops in and around the city. from Sievierodonetsk.
On May 11, Ukrainian artillery struck a pontoon with devastating effect, destroying the bridge, incinerating armored vehicles on both banks of the river and killing more than 400 soldiers, according to estimates by Western military analysts. The UK Ministry of Defense released statements corroborating, based on satellite imagery, Ukrainian accounts and aerial drone footage posted online, the strike.
The 650-mile-long Seversky Donets River originates in Russia and meanders southeast through the Donbass region before re-entering Russian territory, forming lakes, floodplains and swamps that act as a barrier effective for Russian armored vehicles. Still, Russia gained ground in its eastern offensive through gradual advances and repeated attempts to storm the Ukrainian lines, under cover of intense artillery bombardment.