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Putin’s Nightmare Begins: Ukraine Has ‘Breached the First Line of Russian Defenses’

Ukrainian light infantry has breached the first line of Russian defenses in the vicinity of Robotyne and is now attacking the second. 

U.S. Army Image. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

The Ukrainian military has been making promising progress in southern Ukraine over the past few days, capturing a key position and advancing toward another one. 

Ukrainian light infantry has breached the first line of Russian defenses in the vicinity of Robotyne and is now attacking the second. 

The next hours and days will be crucial for the success of the Ukrainian counteroffensive. 

Making Promising Progress 

The Ukrainian forces continue to advance south of Robotyne, which was captured a few days ago, in the direction of Verbove. Ukrainian light infantry has been at the tip of the spear, clearing Russian anti-tank positions and removing obstacles so that main battle tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, and armored personnel carriers can move up the line and provide support. 

Breaching the first line of defense is key because the ones following aren’t as robust and well-defended as the first one. The Russian military is throwing in reserves in the sector in an attempt to contain the Ukrainian progress and prevent an operational breakthrough. 

Farther to the east, the Ukrainian forces are also pushing hard around Bakhmut and are making steady progress. 

The Ukrainian military has 13 combat brigades in southern Ukraine and the Donbas, most of which are trained by the West and equipped with Western weapon systems, such as Leopard 2, Leopard 1, and Challenger 2 main battle tanks and M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles. 

Russian Casualties in Ukraine 

Meanwhile, on day 560 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Russian forces continued to take significant casualties. 

Over the past 24 hours, the Russian military and pro-Russian separatist forces in the Donbas lost more than 600 men killed, wounded, or captured, as well as about 70 heavy weapon systems and vehicles. The Russian forces also continue to lose a large number of artillery pieces every day, with almost 40 in the past 24 hours. 

The introduction of cluster munitions in the Ukrainian arsenal means that Russian artillery positions are now that much more vulnerable to counter-battery fire. Cluster munitions can take out ammunition that is underground and close to Russian guns, whereas conventional shells couldn’t do that with the same ease. In a fluid tactical environment full of drones acting as spotters and fire observers, mobility equals survivability. And the Russian forces look increasingly more static because of the nature of their fortifications as well as the significant attrition they have been suffering for months. 

Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Wednesday, Ukrainian forces have killed and wounded approximately 266,290 Russian troops, destroyed 322 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 316 attack and transport helicopters, 4,497 tanks, 5,685 artillery pieces, 8,682 armored personnel carriers, and infantry fighting vehicles, 748 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 18 boats and cutters, 8,190 vehicles, and fuel tanks, 505 anti-aircraft batteries, 4,519 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 852 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 1,447 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses

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.

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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.