Ukrainian Troops Have Set A Tank Trap On A Bridge Outside Chasiv Yar

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Eight weeks after finally capturing the ruins of Avdiivka following a bloody, five-month battle, Russian forces in Ukraine have taken aim at another eastern prize: the former industrial town of Chasiv Yar.

A big battle is coming. One with major consequences for Russia’s 26-month wider war on Ukraine.

Where Ukrainian troops could withdraw from Avdiivka without necessarily risking a broader collapse in their defensive line in the east and a deeper Russian breakthrough, quitting Chasiv Yar could clear path for the Russians to march west.

That “could have dire consequences, as it would provide a direct route for the Russian army to advance toward key cities,” Ukrainian analysis group Frontelligence Insight explained.

Which is why Russian advances on the town’s eastern edge in recent weeks are so worrying for the Ukrainians and their allies. And why the tank trap Ukrainian troops have established at one key intersection outside Chasiv Yar is so encouraging for the Ukrainians and their friends.

The trap straddles a bottleneck for Russian forces rolling out from their forward base in occupied Ivanivske. That bottleneck is a small bridge on the T-0504 road that threads west out of Ivanivske and through a forest into Chasiv Yar’s southern districts.

If the Russians—possibly from the 11th Air Assault Brigade operating from the ruins of Bakhmut, a few miles to the east—can get over the bridge, they might be able to disappear into the woods and creep toward Chasiv Yar with some degree of concealment from drones and artillery.

If the Ukrainians—from the 42nd and 67th Mechanized Brigades and adjacent units—can concentrate enough firepower on the bridge, they might be able to block Russian assaults on southern Chasiv Yar before they reach the protection of the trees.

So far, the Ukrainians are succeeding. Which means the Russians are failing. On Wednesday, Ukrainian forces—anti-tank missile crews, drone operators, artillery gunners or some mix of all three—hit at least one Russian BMP fighting vehicle as it was crossing the bridge.

The hulk of the wrecked fighting vehicle now joins the hulks of several other burned-out Russian vehicles on and around the tank trap.

Frontelligence anticipated the Russians’ struggles crossing that bridge. “The road connecting Chasiv Yar and Bakhmut has several bridges over the water channel,” the group explained on Monday. “With the right approach and correctly allocated resources, Chasiv Yar could potentially be a very formidable obstacle to advancing Russian troops.”

It’s not clear the Ukrainian brigades always have the resources they need, however. That should come as no surprise, given that Russia-friendly Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives continue withholding aid to Ukraine after six months.

While the Ukrainians were able to direct a lot of firepower at the Ivanivske bridge on Wednesday, last Thursday they watched—ammo-starved and powerless—as a Russian assault group rolled all the way to Chasiv Yar’s easternmost canal district.

Apparently benefiting from a fresh shipment of munitions, the Chasiv Yar garrison surely are hoping the Russians keep trying to cross that one bridge and its overlapping missile, drone and artillery kill zone. Each attempt costs the Russians another armored vehicle or two.

But that doesn’t mean the Ukrainians aren’t also trying to drop the bridge and cut off a main southern vector into Chasiv Yar. That’s easier said than done, of course: the bridge is a small target, and thickly built.

There’s an apparent shell crater in the middle of the bridge that apparently resulted from an early Ukrainian strike on the span. On or around April 2, some enterprising Ukrainian troops strapped explosives to a remote-controlled vehicle—yes, a tiny drone truck—and rolled it into the crater before detonating the charge.

Unfortunately for the Chasiv Yar garrison, the bridge survived the blast. The silver lining, for the Ukrainians, is that mostly intact bridge remains a dangerous chokepoint for the Russians.

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1. Frontelligence Insight:

2. Deep State:

3. Ukraine Control Map:

4. @wartranslated:

5. @moklasen:

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