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Smart Bombs: Military, Defense and National Security

Putin’s Great Fear Could Come True: Ukraine Is Close to a Military ‘Breakthrough’

Ukrainian armored vehicles have reached beyond the first Russian anti-tank defenses in Southern Ukraine. 

Leopard 2 Tank. Image Credit: Creative Commons.
Leopard 2 Tank

Ukrainian armored vehicles have reached beyond the first Russian anti-tank defenses in Southern Ukraine. 

Fighting rages in the western part of the Zaporizhzhia Oblast, near the village of Verbove, as Ukrainian forces try to widen the breach they have created and achieve an operational breakthrough. 

 Widening the Breach 

Footage shows Ukrainian forces have managed to move heavy weapons systems past the first two layers of the Russian defensive line. Ukrainian Marder 1A infantry fighting vehicles and M1126 Stryker infantry carrier vehicles are now operating past extensive anti-tank ditches and obstacles in the vicinity of Verbove

The Ukrainian military is trying to widen the breach and push through Russian defenses to the rear. 

“The ability to bring armored vehicles to and through the most formidable Russian defenses intended to stop them and to operate them near prepared Russian defensive positions is an important sign of progress in the Ukrainian counteroffensive,” the Institute for the Study of War concluded in its latest operational assessment of the war.

“These small tactical steps may be the start of a larger and more significant advance, although it is too soon to make confident forecasts,” the D.C.-based think tank added.

On the other side, the Russian military is throwing everything it has at the breach, hoping to plug it before Ukrainian forces consolidate a breakthrough. VDV paratroopers, mechanized infantry, and Spetsnaz special operations forces are among the units the Russian military is sending into the fray from other parts of the battlefield to prevent the collapse of the frontline. 

The fighting is at a crucial point. For the first time since launching the counteroffensive, the Ukrainians have a true opportunity to produce meaningful results.

Russian Casualties in Ukraine

On day 576 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Russian military and pro-Russian separatist forces continue to take serious casualties. 

Over the last day, Russian forces lost almost 500 men killed, wounded, and captured, as well as dozens of heavy weapons systems. 

Moscow continues to lose a very large number of artillery pieces and multiple launch rocket systems (approximately 40 over the past 24 hours). Artillery remains the king of the battle and is the source of the most casualties for both sides. 

Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Friday, Ukrainian forces have killed and wounded approximately 274,950 Russian troops. They also claim they have destroyed 322 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets; 316 attack and transport helicopters; 4,644 tanks; 6,177 artillery pieces; 8,891 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles; 785 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems; 20 boats and cutters; 8,690 vehicles and fuel tanks; 528 anti-aircraft batteries; 4,858 tactical unmanned aerial systems; 912 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems; and 1,517 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.

About the Author 

A 19FortyFive Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations and a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ). He holds a BA from the Johns Hopkins University, an MA from the Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), and is pursuing a J.D. at Boston College Law School. His work has been featured in Business InsiderSandboxx, and SOFREP.

1945’s Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist with specialized expertise in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.