Ukrainian troops are said to have exploited and broken through a gap in Russian defenses on the Zaporizhzhia front, according to reports in the Daily Express. Stryker and Marder combat vehicles were spotted behind Russian defenses such as tank traps and the so-called Dragon’s Teeth near Verbowe. George Barros from the Institute for the Study of War interprets this development to mean that Ukraine may be preparing for another major advance.
Surovikin Line in Ukraine’s sights
The “Surovikin Line”, Russia’s major defense facility in the south, was already breached by Ukrainian forces at Robotyne earlier this month. To date, Ukraine’s advance had been slowed due to Russia’s effective defensive structures, consisting of minefields, tank traps and concrete barriers. Kiev is currently seeking to expand the existing breach, with operations underway both south towards Novoprokopivka and southwest towards Verbowe. Barros mentions, based on information from the Daily Express, that it is likely that Ukrainian troops in the area have successfully overcome Russian defenses.
Kiev’s advances and Moscow’s desperate attempts to recapture it
The Daily Express also reports that there is positive news for Kiev from the east: the towns of Klishchiivka and Andriivka near Bakhmut have been taken by the Ukrainian armed forces. Ukrainian sources even claim that three of Putin’s best brigades suffered significant losses in the attack on Andriivka. There are also indications that the Russian side sent under-equipped troops into the fight, which were largely destroyed by Ukrainian artillery, including cluster bombs.
The ISW says Russian commanders are desperately trying to recapture lost cities in the east. Some Russian military personnel and bloggers confirmed this. In addition, Moscow may have withdrawn troops from the Eastern Front to strengthen the south, which may have offered Ukraine an opportunity to exploit this vulnerability.