A Ukrainian soldier covers his ears as he fires a mortar at Russian positions on the front line near Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Monday, May 29, 2023. AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky

  • Reports of Russian casualties as they “retreat through their own minefields,” according to British intelligence.
  • Military progress on both sides of the conflict has been mixed over the past two days, Britain’s Ministry of Defense said.
  • This comes as Ukraine’s long-awaited counter-offensive began this week.

The Russian military’s performance has been “mixed” in the last 48 hours of fighting, as there are increasing reports of Russian casualties as they “retreat through their own minefields”, according to British intelligence.

In intelligence update on SaturdayThe UK Ministry of Defense highlighted the progress being made on both sides of the conflict in Ukraine.

“In some areas, Ukrainian forces have probably made good progress and penetrated the first line of Russian defense.” In others, Ukrainian progress was slower,” the British Ministry of Defense said in a statement.

“The Russian performance has been mixed: some units are likely conducting credible maneuver defensive operations, while others have retreated in some disorder, amid increased reports of Russian casualties as they retreat through their own minefields,” the ministry added.

The Russian air force has also been “unusually active” over southern Ukraine, according to intelligence, but it remains “unclear” whether tactical airstrikes in the area have been effective.

Mine warfare

An M109A6 Paladin 155mm self-propelled howitzer stands camouflaged at a Ukrainian position on May 18, 2023 in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine. It can fire a remote anti-armor mine system shell. Sergey Mikhalchuk/Getty Images

Russia has built an elaborate defense in southeastern Ukraine, The Insider recently reported, consisting of razor wire, anti-tank obstacles and deadly minefields.

Two US officials told CNN on Thursday that the mines are also having a negative impact on Ukrainian armored vehicles.

another dimension of mine warfare is the US-made artillery rounds that lay anti-tank mines in flight used by Ukrainian forces.

The US has delivered more than 10,000 of these remote anti-armor mine systems to Ukraine along with 155mm howitzers that can fire them nearly 18 miles.

The mine-laying artillery shell is designed to force desperate choices, wrote Insider’s Sam Fellman. Vehicles must pass through a mine-lined backwater to deliver fresh troops, ammunition, fuel and food to frontline positions. It can also be used to set traps along escape routes for frontline forces.

Ukraine has confirmed that its long-awaited counter-offensive is underway, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Friday that Ukrainian forces were fighting “very tough battles”.

The fog of war makes it difficult to determine the main line of effort, but one goal of the counteroffensive may be to cut the so-called land bridge connecting Russia and Russian-controlled territories in the southeast in a push toward the Sea of ​​Azov, Insider Ryan Pickrell wrote. .

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