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Russia Pounds Ukraine in Rare Hours-Long Overnight Artillery Barrage

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by Owen Thorne

Eastern Ukraine was hit with sustained artillery early Thursday on a scale that recalls the heavy bombardments of World War I and Korea. I witnessed the rare attack from a short distance away, for more than three hours during the pitch of night. The bombardment rained down near Izyum, illuminating the sky with continuous airbursts. 

The bombardment was part of the Russian offensive effort to slowly grind down the Ukrainians in the Donbas around Lysychansk. 

Russian tactics included an old and effective multi-prong approach. These include firing a battalion salvo at the same time they fire larger systems to mask and clutter up the radar against counterfire. The salvos immediately were followed by airburst Willie Pete, white phosphorus. Any fuel tanks punctured by shrapnel were set on fire.

At its peak, thousands of rounds were impacting over a period of more than 30 minutes. 

Russian efforts in the area increased this week, according to the British Ministry of Defense. 

“While Russia’s main operational focus remains the Severodonetsk-Lysychansk pocket, a week of consistently heavy shelling suggests Russia is now trying to regain momentum on the northern Izyum axis,” the ministry said.

More to come from Owen Thorne on action inside Donbas and other areas of Ukraine.

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