Ukrainian forces say its troops have penetrated the ‘first line’ of Russian strongholds in the Zaporizhzhia region. This means Kyiv is edging closer to Moscow’s sprawling network of fortified trenches along the southern front.
The Ukrainian military claimed its forces were pushing towards the village of Novoprokopivka, east of Robotyne, a village in Zaporizhzhia that Kyiv secured last week amid grueling counter attacks and is yielding incremental gains.
“They have been successful, are consolidating their positions, inflicting artillery fire on the identified enemy targets, and conducting counter-battery operations,” the military’s general staff said on Friday.
“Ukrainian soldiers disclosed that they expect battles for control of high ground to the south and east of the village as they approach the next layer of Russian defenses.
Ukraine has the long-term goal of breaking Russia’s “land bridge,” which links territory it holds in the east with annexed Crimea.
“News of the latest progress comes against the backdrop of reports that US and Western allies had noted the slow pace of the counterattacks.
“Brigadier General Serhiy Baranov told Ukrainian media on Thursday that Kyiv had benefited from the longer range of field artillery provided by NATO. He said that while Russian artillery had an average range of 24 kilometers, weapons provided to Ukraine could fire between 30 and 40 kilometers.
“This made it possible to destroy or damage the enemy’s guns, as well as to move the enemy’s artillery from the front line into the depths and prevent counter-battery warfare against our artillery,” Baranov said.
On Monday, satellite imagery of the village of Solodka Balka showed steel-reinforced communications trenches, vehicle shelters and fortifications aimed at obstructing Ukrainian advances.
Kyiv has expanded its units towards the strategic town of Tokmak in recent weeks, a logistic center for Russian forces with a railhead through which resupply is carried out and depots for fuel and ammunition are situated.
“By passing the heights from the northeast made it possible to put pressure on the enemy’s right flank and reach its first line of defense, located on the heights to the south. The battles for the strongholds on them are ahead,” the brigade’s Telegram channel said.
Units were also stationed on the western edge of the village of Verbove, the brigade stated. Fighting was already taking place very close to Russian defensive lines, the brigade added
“Russians are constantly counterattacking and actively defending – we are moving, squeezing out the occupiers, but a month of fighting has shown that the enemy is not going to give up the captured land – there is a lot of work ahead.”
“Two Ukrainian assault groups had tried to break through the defensive line on the outskirts of Verbove “and were destroyed,” the Russian-appointed official in control of occupied parts of Zaporizhzhia, Yevgeniy Balitsky, said.
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Meanwhile, a well-known Russian military blogger, WarGonzo, said Ukrainian troops had advanced toward Verbove from the west but that Russian units “hold the defense on the outskirts of the settlement.”
The Russo-Ukrainian War is an ongoing international conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which began on February 2022, with Russia’s invasion of the country.