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Ukraine Has Won the Battle to Penetrate Russia’s First Defensive Belt (What Happens Now?)

On Friday, the Ukrainian military revealed that the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) had finally broken through the first line of Russia’s vaunted main line of defense in the Zaporezhia region. Many hope the breakthrough will facilitate a more rapid breach deeper into Russia’s defense. A careful analysis of the tactical situation, however, reveals the situation for the UAF remains tenuous. 

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

On Friday, the Ukrainian military revealed that the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) had finally broken through the first line of Russia’s vaunted main line of defense in the Zaporezhia region. Many hope the breakthrough will facilitate a more rapid breach deeper into Russia’s defense.

A careful analysis of the tactical situation, however, reveals the situation for the UAF remains tenuous. 

Ukraine Scores a Win

The specific area of the penetration of the first belt of Russia’s main defensive system is just east of the village of Robotyne, which Ukraine recently captured, and about three kilometers west of the village of Verbova.  The first problem for Ukraine is the amount of time it has taken to arrive at the first line and the resources it took to achieve it.

The UAF launched their offensive on June 5, and it took nearly three months to arrive at the first major line of defense. Ukraine suffered significant casualties in personnel and equipment over the first three months of this operation, especially in Western-provided armor. The last time the West promised large numbers of tanks and armored personnel carriers was late last year. It is unclear how Ukraine can replace these current losses and still maintain the momentum to keep pressure on Russian lines.

Second, the path Ukraine has clawed out to reach the breach near Verbova makes the UAF vulnerable to flank attacks, as Russian forces still control a long ridgeline of elevated terrain overlooking the western heights above Robotyne, as well as a line to the east of Ukraine’s current direction of attack.

At present, Russia is able to keep persistent artillery and drone strikes focused on the main road from the Ukrainian rear that is necessary to move new troops and supplies into the breach, and wounded soldiers out. 

If the UAF attempts to continue penetrating beyond this breach in Russia’s line, it will risk creating the conditions for a cauldron in which they could become vulnerable to Russian attack on three sides – or in a worst case scenario – have mobile Russian reserves cut the neck of the cauldron and trap the entire Ukrainian battle group, cut off from all support. To prevent that outcome, the UAF will have to expand the flanks of their penetration and wrest control of the high ground from Russia to the West. 

At the moment, Russia is preventing Ukraine from consolidating its control over Robotyne owing to that high ground to the west, but also because of a series of trenchlines and defensive strong points to the south of the village. The Russians also hold the village of Novoprokorivka, about 1,500 meters to the south. Ukraine must capture Novoprokorivka to enable it to continue exploitation of the breach in the main line of defense.

If Ukraine is able to secure its flanks and neutralize its current vulnearability, the next target beyond the breach would be the village of Verbova. It is about six kilometers from Robotyne, and Ukraine has thus far cut that distance in half.  Ukraine has indeed reached the first line, but thus far only a few infantry squads have infiltrated past the line. To open the gates for substantive Ukraine forces, they will have to fully penetrate and then expand the hole in the line.

Ukraine will have to move armored forces past the line of dragon’s teeth, then traversing the approximate 1,000m to the first large line of a tank ditch, and then defeat the forward strongpoints of Russia’s defense of Verbova.  The gap between the dragon’s teeth and the tank ditch are littered with hundreds of meters of anti-tank and anti-personnel minefields.

The Russians are aware of what Ukraine will try to do, and are using artillery and anti-tank missile crews to fire on the UAF formations, complicating any attempt to clear the minefields. Before Ukraine can make a concerted push to take Verbova, they must eliminate Russian positions on both flanks while simultaneously clearing the three levels of obstacles (dragon’s teeth, tank ditch, and minefield).

Ukraine had a similar problem getting to and then through Robotyne, so they have the capacity and knowledge of how to navigate these difficulties. The unknown issue, however, is knowing how many resources they lost while chewing through the first 10km of Russia’s defense. That attack began on June 5, and took the better part of three months and untold number of armored vehicles and likely thousands of killed and wounded infantrymen to buy those gains. 

But What About the Weather in Ukraine? 

A recent Ukrainian video shows what appears to be a full battalion of fresh German armor is ready to engage the Russians, indicating the UAF still has the ability to throw a major punch. Whether that will be enough to take Verbova or not remains to be seen, or whether they can take the next 10km in anything less than three months is unknown. To succeed in that task will require not merely more tanks and troops, but also the cooperation of the weather – which may be a bigger roadblock than the Russians.

The rainy season begins in this part of Ukraine as soon as the latter half of September. But October and November are likely to be very damp and muddy. Most of the fields through which Ukrainian armor must pass to push through the Russian defenses require them to traverse large expanses of open fields. Those fields, however, will become mud bogs in weeks. If armored vehicles get stuck in the mud, they will not be able to maintain the momentum necessary to bring mass to a given part of the line at a time of Ukraine’s choosing, and will be easy targets for Russian artillery and FPV drones.

In all probability, Ukraine will spend the last weeks before the onset of the rainy season to solidify its gains, expand its control over the western heights of Robotyne, and if possible, complete the capture of Verbova. That will be a tall order, but one that is possible. By any measure, breaching Russia’s first main line of defense has been a hard-fought and meaningful accomplishment for the UAF. 

There remains, however, still about 25km of additional belts of Russian defenses and strong points to even reach Tokmak, and another 75 road kilometers to reach the strategic objective of Melitipol. Once the Ukrainian offensive reaches culmination, likely within weeks, Russia will begin the process of expanding and improving the remainder of the defensive lines south of Verbova, making it even harder to penetrate once Ukraine has built up new offensive capacity, possibly as late as Spring 2024.

Ukraine has won the battle to penetrate Russia’s first main defensive belt. It is unclear whether they have sufficient capacity to continue pushing through additional belts before being slowed down or stopped by weather. One thing, however, is quite certain: the war is far from over and the cost in men and material to continue fighting will keep piling up.

Daniel L. Davis is a Senior Fellow for Defense Priorities and a former Lt. Col. in the U.S. Army who deployed into combat zones four times. He is the author of “The Eleventh Hour in 2020 America.” Follow him @DanielLDavis.

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Written By

Daniel L. Davis is a Senior Fellow for Defense Priorities and a former Lt. Col. in the U.S. Army who deployed into combat zones four times. He is the author of “The Eleventh Hour in 2020 America.” Follow him @DanielLDavis1.



  1. George Gordon Byron

    September 3, 2023 at 11:19 am

    According to this fact of the breakthrough of the 1st line of defense, CNN is not able to independently confirm the statements of either side about the course of hostilities.

  2. Webej

    September 3, 2023 at 11:23 am

    »Ukraine has won the battle to penetrate Russia’s first main defensive belt.«

    So is there any evidence?
    Photos of a Ukrainian flag atop a row of dragon’s teeth?
    Ukrainian engineers celebrating the bridging of an anti-tank ditch?
    No? How likely is it that UA would not mark this with a PR stunt?

    The only evidence of all this ‘news’ is a few DRG units being shelled after filtering through a GAP between two defensive lines NW of Verbova, along a road? Perhaps the Russians left the gap there on purpose? Is UA walking into a trap, another fire bag?

    Meanwhile the Russians are building more echeloned defensive belts. No a single one has verifiably been crossed up until now.

  3. aldol11

    September 3, 2023 at 11:48 am

    you can take the horse to the water but you cannot make him drink,
    This Putin lovers here, i am amazed at how he chooses to ignore the reality that stares them in the face .
    i hope we don’t have many like him in the armed forces

  4. Roger

    September 3, 2023 at 11:49 am

    Hey danirl. Just two days ago you wrote that pentrating the wall would so attrition Ukraine that nothing was left to further advance. Well they have got though and still have all their armour nearly intact.
    How can you be so reliably wrong. And never repent.

  5. Brett

    September 3, 2023 at 11:50 am

    At least Daniel Davis didn’t say it would require three miracles to push past Ukraine’s current positions! Compared to how certain he was about the impossibility of liberating Kherson last year, this almost reads as ‘balanced’ – at least when compared to Davis articles in general.

    Davis keeps referring to the loss of Western Armor at the beginning of the invasion. David Axe who writes for Forbes has a good article that corrects misconceptions. While 20% of ENGAGED armor was damaged/destroyed, that is not the same as 20% of TOTAL armor provided by Western powers. Critically, many of the damaged MBTs have been restored in Poland and returned to the Front Lines. The APCs and MBTs have succeed in their main task – keeping Ukrainian soldiers alive.

    Ukraine believes they will be successful. Russia is caught on the horns of a dilemma. They’ve had to laterally transfer VDV forces from the Kupyansk direction, and even with their additional ‘reserve’ forces they seem unable to stop additional advances.

    The Russian miliblogger space is awash in stories of being outgunned by Ukrainian artillery. Lower-echelon commanders have been reaching out to Popov who was removed from command of the 58th Combined Arms Army because they can’t communicate through the officers that have been placed over their units to reveal the true situation.

    People keep saying that Russia has learned from their mistakes, but their biggest error continues to be encouraging misleadingly positive battlefield reports. How many times must the Russians announce they ‘neutralized all attacks’ before published video footage proves the lie before Davis stops believing everything the Russian propagandists say?

    There’s a lot of fighting to go, and Ukraine may find itself in trouble at some point. But they’re less likely to be in trouble if the west continues proactively providing equipment and ammunition well in advance of the critical need so Ukraine can count on these deliveries for offensive planning. Even the United States lost 23 Abrams tanks in the Iraq war, and that was after establishing clear air superiority.

    Davis likes to talk about costs as if Ukraine is the only one paying them. What he refuses to discuss is ‘value’. There is a reason people are willing to fight and die to push Russia out of their country. People on the front lines know that life for themselves, their families, and their progeny, are better if they establish a free democratic state and pursue deeper integration with Western Europe. The truth remains that Putin is fighting this war to keep his subjects from learning the truth about quality of life in well-governed countries. Ukraine was on a path to establish western-style quality government and standards of living, giving proof to how corrupt Russia is. It is regrettable that any Ukrainian lives have been lost – but for the people fighting it would be WORSE if they didn’t do everything in their power to stand up for their freedom.

    They deserve our support, and they have my faith that the support my nation provides will be rewarded with victory.

  6. mowgli

    September 3, 2023 at 12:17 pm

    if Ukrainians do not deliver more success stories next few weeks then the US flow of cash & weapons will take a time-out. There’s 9 months of trench war if nothing changes big time. How it will be abused by the US election campaign?

  7. Gary Jacobs

    September 3, 2023 at 12:23 pm

    LoL, Davis.

    Nice to see you acknowledge how fast your last post became false with the Ukrainians releasing the video of fresh Leopard 2s. Leopard 1s, Abrams, CV90s, GLSDB, and more on the way as well.

    In fact after the 1st few days of their offensive, losses have been minimized, especially compared to Russians.

    US Abrams are being delivered this month. Expect more in the pipeline to Ukraine once the logistics are set up.

    As well, close to 1000 of the UK trained Ukrainian marines are returning home. These troops are especially good for mud and/or river crossings.

    Furthermore, the idea that Ukraine’s offensive will have ‘culminated’ is false. It may go into a new phase, but culminate is a wildly inaccurate word.

    Ukraine has taken advantage of their superior 155 NATO standard artillery and counter battery radars to decimate Russian artillery. That can and will continue through the rainy season.

    As well, Once they establish barrel artillery range to Tokmak, and take Hill 166, the Russians are in deep trouble in this sector.

    Geolocated footage already has Ukraine moving on the high ground east of Novoprokopivka.

    That is the last high ground in this area.

    It is literally ALL downhill to Tokmak from there.

    More geolocated footage has Ukraine in the west end of Verbove.

    Further east, more geolocated footage shows Ukraine in Staromlynivka.

    Furthermore, far more important than the amount of land Ukraine has retaken so far is how stupidly the Russians have wasted their own troops fighting in front of their prepared defenses.

    Case in point: Urozhaine.

    Ukraine could have quickly advanced further south in a head on clash and taken a lot of casualties.

    Instead, they surrounded the Russians on 3 sides and spent 2 weeks pummelling them until the Russians retreated in broad daylight with no armor in open areas.

    Then Ukraine hit them with a combo of cluster shells and regular 155mm shells. And got it all on video. It was a bloodbath.

    And still further east in the Bakhmut sector, the Ukrainians took almost all the high ground north and south of the city, and then stopped advancing.

    Davis’ last hot mess of an article didnt bother to understand the Ukrainians clearly stopped major advances in that sector on purpose to pin the Russians from an advantageous Ukrainian position and grind the Russians down.

    Periodically the Ukrainians will advance into one of the towns in the lowlands to lure the Russians out, and then Ukrainians will retreat so their artillery, drone, and missile positions on the high ground will pummel the Russians.

    Rinse. Repeat.

    Dont be surprised to see Ukrainians pause after they take Hill 166 so they can use that high ground advantage to pummel the Russians below on the way to Tokmak. Then they will advance further.

    Oh ya, as for the rainy season… there are more Swedish CV90s on the way. They are especially optimized for mud and snow. As are their version of the Leopard which was gifted to Ukraine.

    A video that circulated online this week depicts soldiers from the Ukrainian Army’s 93rd Mechanized Brigade training with the CV90 in the Ukrainian rear. Indicating far more have been given then previously announced.

    When Sweden gifted Ukraine 50 CV90s, 10 Strv 122 tanks and eight Archer howitzers—gifts it publicly announced—it also gave Ukraine Bgbv 90 armored recovery vehicles, but never announced it.

    We found out about the Bgbv 90 transfer because one of the vehicles appeared in a photo from the front in July.

    Sweden has CV90s to spare. Its got more than 500 in its inventory and additional vehicles in production.

    Davis is just starting to acknowledge that Ukraine is making advances that may cause his predictions of ultimate failure to prove incorrect.

    Just as happened in Kherson last year.

    There’s a lot more evidence out there he has yet to wrap his head around.

    Bottom line: A lot of tough fighting left to go, but the tide is decidedly shifting towards Ukraine.

    Get used to it.

  8. Jim

    September 3, 2023 at 1:40 pm

    Something that hasn’t been brought up very often: the Russian defensive line was constructed not only to block Kiev’s forces from advancing, but also to channel & direct forces into pre-designed zones (“kill sacks”) where these forces are exposed to “fire” from various directions… withering fire… brigades become ineffective… and are pulled back… what’s left.

    So, if the Russian scheme works as planned readers may see reports of advances by Kiev’s forces, only to read later the advancing soldiers have been badly mauled, perhaps, even wiped out… this is all part of the plan.

    It does no good to have forces advance only to be wiped out… it’s worse than not advancing at all.

    The author congratulates Kiev on their capture of Robotyne and mentions the high cost in terms of men & equipment in passing… this is an omission.

    Robotyne (pre-war pop. 480) and its associated bulge are a successful example of the Russian strategy, not its failure.

    This is a homely analogy, I know, but think of the bulge as a giant bug zapper, the edges of the bulge are the outer cage, and Robotyne is the “zapper” at the center (in this case, lower left corner, as seen on a map)… Kiev has sent relentless waves at Robotyne, even though it has little strategic or even tactical value, but it has been attractive “bait” to lure Kiev’s forces out into the open (Robotyne, itself, has been reduced to rubble with only broken, low, remnants of building foundations left).

    So is Robotyne really a success for Kiev or something else?

    This is, in a nutshell, the Russian strategy:

    Wait for Kiev’s forces to come out into the open… then do your best to annihilate those forces.

    If possible guide or direct Kiev’s forces into specific areas via the designed shape of the defensive belts and seemingly an encouraging lack of fire at times only to be heavily fired upon later when further into the “bug zapper.”

    Verbova lines up to be the second “kill sack” so far in this area of Kiev’s offensive: Kiev’s soldiers are taking a straight line into the town which along “low ground,” some refer to it as a “gully” leading to Verbova… obviously, being in a gully is no place to be when soldiers are firing down on you from above.

    (The designed contours and lines of the defensive belt in the Verbova area suggest Verbova is the second “bait town” to be used to lure Kiev’s forces into another slaughter, the first one was Robotyne.)

    Expect high casualties… another pyric “victory” and the Russians smiling at another success for their Surovikin Line defense strategy.

  9. Michael Droy

    September 3, 2023 at 1:40 pm

    Fat lady going to sing soon.

    If you were a Ukrainian being driven through a small gap in the Dragon’s teeth in your fighting vehiccle into Verbove, you’d be wondering a) how come Russia is letting you in instead of just shelling the gap to prevent entry, and b) how on earth are you going to get out that way when all goes wrong.
    2014/15 these places were called Koteli – cauldrons or just traps.
    Soviets remember these things.

  10. Sofronie the Monk

    September 3, 2023 at 2:14 pm

    @Webej: Of course this is just as Putin intended. Everything in this entire war has gone precisely to his plan, from Prigozhin’s march to the Moskva’s sinking. And the Luna-25 was never a lunar landing mission, it was actually the first hypersonic strike on the Moon to punish the Nazis from there and warn the Americans. Implying otherwise would mean that the puny Ukrainians are capable of defeating mighty Russia and that’s what windows from tall floors are for.

    I remember in November last year reading the same message about Kherson. The Russians were safely in control of the city, Ukrainians were being massacred outside it, the Ukrainian army was in full rout (apparently after reading about the three miracles they needed according to Mr. Davis), the Ukrainian flags were fakes and then suddenly Zelenski popped in the city. After that, it was another masterful trap; Putin never wanted Kherson, all he wanted to do is to trap the Nazis in it and destroy them.

    @Gary Jacobs: Those were not Russian soldiers running, you Nazi. You witnessed the first active deployment of the latest cluster ammo interceptor, named C-23 (Conscript-23). They’re cheap, abundant and, as always, “NATO has nothing like that!”

  11. 0Zed

    September 3, 2023 at 2:44 pm

    Nobody expects the Ukrainians to fight the way we would. Nobody expects the Ukrainians to fight as expensively as we do. Nobody expects the Ukrainians to be as averse to casualties as we are.

    Their cause is different. Their size is different. So too their history, doctrine, capabilities, and resources.

    To demand or expect an American or NATO-style performance is silly. To call anything less than a France 1940-style blitzkrieg a failure is absurd.

    The Ukrainians, a nation in arms fighting for its survival and its future, are punishing the Russian military, advancing how and where it can, and preserving enough combat power to exploit opportunities and safeguard the whole.

    Indicia of Russian failure:

    1. Russian propagandists constantly complain (so much so that Putin has censored all and imprisoned a few).

    2. Russian politicians make ludicrous threats about WW3, which Russia would lose badly.

    3. Competent Russian officers are relieved of command or thrown in jail.

    4. The growing realization in Russia that this war is not necessary, not worth the cost, and that salvaging Putin’s vanity will leave Russia exposed before other more serious threats in Russia’s South and East.

    We’ll see whether 2024 brings a well-motivated new model Russian Army. I have my doubts.

    We’ll see whether a stalemate (or a protracted war) really favors Russia. Afghanistan was a stalemate for most of NATO’s time there.

  12. Cheburator

    September 3, 2023 at 3:17 pm

    correction – Rabotino is not included in the first defensive belt, but is located in the buffer zone, so that Ukraine’s statement is nothing more than a clickbait to reassure investors.

  13. Corvus

    September 3, 2023 at 4:07 pm

    Wow, Davis recognizing a Ukrainian victory… has Hell frozen over?

    BTW, I really enjoy how the Putin supporters dream about this being part of some “big plan” involving “koteli” and other such mumbo-jumbo. My friends, we’ve been hearing this scary “koteli” rhetoric for a whole year already. And guess what – it never happened. Not even a single kotel materialized. I guess you’ve overestimated Russian “ability”. Again.

    I also love it how Armchair General Jim has figured out Russia’s entire strategy from the comfort of his basement. Keep us informed, please.

  14. Gary D Jacobs

    September 3, 2023 at 4:29 pm


    LoL. Except the reverse turns out to be what is happening.

    The Ukrainians followed the Russians to where they were retreating and rapidly exploited the lanes without mines.

    That’s why the advance between the 1st and 2nd lines has been faster.

    As well, the Ukrainians have released footage of Russian recently arrived reinforcements being devastated near Verbove.

    And Russian footage from a failed drone strike revealed that the Ukrainians are further south of Robotyne than most western hacks like Davis have realised.

    Ukraine appears to be in the process of taking Hill 166. The highest point in the region overlooking Tokmak.

    They also may be looking to use Verbove to exploit a seam between lines 2 and 3 of Russia’s defenses to flank Hill 166.

    As well, Ukrainians are also now speaking up about the mud season not being as big a factor in the south as it is in other parts of Ukraine where the sandier soil of the southern Zaporizhzhya region contrasts with the black soil in other regions, which turns to mud in the rainy autumn months.

    “Since much of the soil in southern Ukraine remains firm even in the rain, Ukrainian troops will still be able to maneuver through the winter.

    Time is not necessarily a limiting factor, as some people believe,” said Mykola Bieleskov, a researcher at the National Institute for Strategic Studies in Kyiv.

    As usual, most of what you and Daniel Davis say does not hold up to the most basic research.

    But dont take my word for it. Or the Ukrainians. As usual it is the Russian milbloggers that are the most in panic mode about how bad their situation is in the south.

    even the new rules by the Kremlin limiting what they are supposed to be able to say…has not had the desired propaganda effect on all of them…and they continue to raise the alarm bells.

    Get used to it.

  15. Lonewolfz28

    September 3, 2023 at 5:00 pm

    LOL, Donbas Danny Davis is reduced to talking about the weather as the next hope to save his Russian friends from continued defeat. He’s also running about a week behind the news, probably due to denial.

    The Ukrainians have already jumped ahead and taken Urozhaine to the south and are at the doorstep of Verbove to widen/secure the breach. With the taking of Urozhaine, they are already threatening to isolate Tokmak from the east and south.

    Everyone expects them to drive towards Melitopol or Mariupol. But, what if Berdyans’k is the true objective? It’s still on the Sea of Azov. It still splits the “land bridge” in half. But, it also puts the Kerch Bridge and its approaches in jeopardy, as it’s closer than either Melitopol or Mariupol (~30 miles closer). It’s also an easier task than either of the larger cities. They can solidify their gains, wait out the rain that Danny is counting on, and launch attacks on the Kerch Bridge from the north and south to sever that connection as well. That puts Melitopol and Crimea in jeopardy of getting cut off from easy resupply.

    You want to panic every Russian in southern Ukraine and Crimea? Secure that breach to the Sea of Azov, break the Kerch Bridge once and for all, and harass the ports around it as well.

  16. Willlongfield

    September 4, 2023 at 3:14 am

    “ Ukraine has won the battle to penetrate Russia’s first main defensive belt. ”

    The battle objective was to drive all the way to the Azov sea, not cross the first trench line.

    Face it. The counter-offensive is over. Ukraine lost.

  17. George Gordon Byron

    September 4, 2023 at 4:01 am

    The joyful bouncing of Ukraine’s apologists out of the blue is premature. The Ukrainians have exhausted their resources over the past three months, suffering very heavy losses.
    Currently, the Ukrainians continue to advance in the south, but have not yet broken through the Russian front. There are intense battles, but there is no turning point in the theater of operations.
    Rabotino, in fact, is the only local success that the Armed Forces of Ukraine cost too much. Front-line report as of the morning of September 4: Fierce fighting continues in the southern part of Rabotino in the Zaporozhye direction. The Armed Forces of Ukraine have pulled together a large number of reserves here and are trying to exert maximum pressure on the defense of Russian units. Despite all efforts, the progress of the Armed Forces of Ukraine is minimal, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation do not allow the enemy to make a breakthrough. The Russian Armed Forces are thwarting attempts by Ukrainian troops to advance in the areas of Urozhaynoye and Verbove settlements.
    All other sectors of the front are fighting
    The counteroffensive is not going as expected: Ukraine is suffering “terrible losses.” Zelensky, Zaluzhny. Reznikov: There were 1 million 400 thousand people. Now about 1 million people, 400 thousand people have disappeared.
    There are only 500,000 Russian troops in the combat area. That is, 2 times less than in the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
    And this is the future that opens up before Ukraine: another call for older people, another call for people with limited fitness for military service.

  18. from Russia with love

    September 4, 2023 at 6:47 am

    @Gary Jacobs
    @Sofronie the Monk
    You never cease to amaze me! 🙂
    I present to you a simple quiz. show how much you love Ukraine! 😉
    I offer you 2 questions, one is simpler, the second is more difficult.
    1) when Ukraine will take Tokmok
    A) in a week
    B) in a month
    C) never
    2) when Ukraine will take Militopol
    A) in a month
    B) in a year
    C) never
    I would like to see your two answers A. 🙂 you have already stated that the Russian defense has been broken through. Now the Ukrainian troops must quickly break into the gap! right?
    Come on guys, don’t be afraid! answer! I’d really like to poke your face in your first A in a week. 😉
    you write some strange nonsense, but you are trying to bring it to some kind of logic. ready to write it off as ignorance. 😉 write your answers to my quiz. just so you can see for yourself that there are big problems in your logic.

  19. Walker

    September 4, 2023 at 7:29 am

    Lol! We have a new surprise. A DD article where even the Russian Paid Propaganda trolls disagree with him. That must be a first!

    And yet he still refuses to admit how wrong he was. Any excuse he can find to say that Ukraine can’t go any further. He’s going to be really flummoxed over the next two weeks. Can’t wait to see how he gets around it.

    Here is one point where I can tell that DD really is about the most brainless SOB around. He talks about how Russia has set up such an artillery kill box for Ukraine. Except he totally ignores that Ukraine has been doing counter battery strikes way better than Russia. Russian artillery has been severely disabled by Ukraines abilities on this front. You absolutely can watch videos of Ukrainian forces driving through Russian artillery fire without a scratch. Meanwhile, you can watch Ukraine absolutely devastate any Russian convoy trying to do the same. By this alone you can tell that Russia doesn’t have a chance.

    Another thing that tells you Russia is in huge trouble. Their troops are talking to fired Generals because the current Generals are so inept. In Russia, it doesn’t matter if you are competent, just loyal to Putin.

    And finally, Russia is completely out of reserves but Putin has decided to not do another mobilization until after then next election over a year away.

    You really have to be an idiot to bet on Russia.

  20. Duane

    September 4, 2023 at 8:17 am

    Any breakthrough in a narrow front, known as a “salient”, is nearly always more deadly to the attacker than the defender unless the attacker has such overwhelming superiority to stream thru and then bend outwards to overwhelm the defenders from the rear. That has been proven hundreds or thousands of times in the history of warfare. Salients expose the attackers on at least three sides, especially the vulnerable flanks … and potentially can result in being entirely surrounded, cut off, and destroyed by the defenders when the attackers have their supply lines cut off.

    Good examples of the frequent failure of salients include Operation Market Garden, a failed attack by the Allies, and then a bit later, the Battle of Ardennes, otherwise known as “The Battle of the Bulge” by the Germans, both in World War Two. These are not unique outcomes.

    For those ignorant trolls in this thread above making infantile personal attacks on the author of this analysis, there is no help for you as you wallow in your ignorance. The author is merely citing known historical military doctrine and practice. He has not declared this salient a failure; he has only stated the obvious risk of pushing through on a narrow front instead of a broad front.

    Success will be determined by the ability of Ukraine to either send a massive push through the salient in Russian lines and come around to attack them from the rear … or otherwise succeed in broadening the front such that flank counterattacks can no longer succeed. It remains to be seen if Ukraine has enough power to create either result.

    Salients are most often pursued by military or political leaders out of desperation (such as Hitler in the Ardennes) or ego (like Montgomery in Market Garden), not sound military practice. Monty argued with Eisenhower and the Americans for a quick strike in Holland so that he could free himself of Ike’s control that was being exercised across the broad front in Western Europe. Ike appeased Monty, but at a great cost – for the Americans (mostly) and the Brits, the Bulge was the bloodiest battle on the western front.

    If a defender’s forces are greatly weakened, deprived of supplies, demoralized, and spread very thinly, a salient attack can succeed. But there seems to be very little evidence that the Russian defenders are suffering such weakness.

  21. Gary D Jacobs

    September 4, 2023 at 10:23 am


    I just had a discussion with a military man who also thought Berdyansk would be a likely objective.

    There would be some tell tale signs. All one has to do is look at the rail line that goes from Polohy south east…into Berdyansk.

    It would make for better logistics into the south for Ukraine to make that line operational for themselves.

    If they can connect their lines of attack and collapse the Russian front from Robotyne in the west all the way south of Vuhledar in the east…they will have protected the flanks of their main thrusts, and created the ability to sustain their logistics headed south.

    The area south of Urozhaine is the weakest part of the Russian defense, but the Russians are trying to dig new trenches 25km+ further south of their main line.

    If Ukraine breaks through the main Russian defensive line at Heorhiivka, there’s a good chance they send some forces to hook west to come in behind the lines near Bilmak to support the drive south of Robotyne and Verbove…and they have also been sending forces south of Hulyaipole to go at Polohy. They might be able to create firing positions on 3 sides of Polohy and force the Russians to retreat or be destroyed.

    If they can manage that, they will create much more favorable conditions to move on Tokmak and Berdyansk.

  22. Jim

    September 4, 2023 at 11:32 am

    Gary, if I were you, I wouldn’t be smiling or laughing.

    It’s no laughing matter, what is happening to Kiev’s forces… it’s brutal & grim… so say witnesses on the front.

    In the northern sector, Russians are advancing and taking casualties… but in no way similar to Robotyne or Verebove.

    (Turns out there was a tunnel system in Robotyne which the Russians were using to good effect… and explains Kiev’s high casualty figures and how the Russians were able to stick so long in southern Robotyne.)

    Kiev has replaced the defense minister Reznikov amid the carnage… with Zelensky saying, they need new approaches and formats… I’d say.

    And, sure, there are “nervous Nellies” on the Russian side, no doubt. However, relying on official statements from Kiev is liable to be misleading… as they have no incentive to admit their Big Spring/Summer Offensive is a failure…

    … other than replace their defense minister amid the chaos, carnage, and wreckage left over from this disastrous offensive.

    You can’t paper over that.

  23. Gary D Jacobs

    September 4, 2023 at 1:36 pm


    I use geolocated footage as a guide far more than official statements.

    And based on those, the situation for Russia is deteriorating rapidly.

    When I see what is happening in this war, I neither smile nor laugh.

    Only When I see you pretending to understand what is happening, and twisting logic to pretend Russia is doing well, can I muster to smile through the carnage.

    I am all too aware that Ukraine is taking casualties.

    I also understand and support the motivation to expel Russian imperialists from Ukraine. Something you have yet to internalize.

    As for replacing Reznikov, I doubt you have the slightest idea what the underlying cause of that is.

    Furthermore, Russia has removed so many generals I lost count a long time ago. Some for bad performance, or even worse when they complain they arent getting enough supplies to do the job right…. General Popov should ring a bell, but you dont want to face Russia’s disastrous reality.

    Focusing in on Reznikov is not your best move.

    With Ukrainian breakthroughs at Urozhaine and Robotyne, Russia’s defenses are looking increasingly rickety.

    Russia has had to redeploy its best forces from its northern offensive to the south, which has now, in part, led to Ukraine retaking lost positions in the northern direction.

    They also moved VDV from Kherson, and left mobiks behind…which has allowed Ukraine to expand their foothold on the left bank.

    Fortifications known as the Surovikin line were never fully finished, and the man himself is nowhere to be found.

    The fact that the Russians are fighting in front of their prepared defenses has been nothing short of a disastrous decision.

    It is clear that the commanders on the ground do not want to be associated with a defensive strategy that is named after a guy associated with Wagner’s mutiny.

    I have barely even gotten to Ukraine’s expanding foothold on left bank of Dniprio, or the expanded special ops landings in Southern Kherson and North Crimea after the destruction of the S400 missile complex. I’ll save that for another time.

    In fact, I could go on for days obliterating your faux notion of smarts…but for now I digress.

  24. VaibhavRaj Singh

    September 4, 2023 at 2:10 pm

    @Garry Jacobs
    You are saying that Ukraine casualties were minimal in the first week of off naive & they are annihilating Russian forces meanwhile Ukrainian government will now forcing 17 year old boys to fight & poland is sending back all the 80000 men that came into there country after SMO & ukraine has even started to recruit women ???????? you are so filled with propaganda , why don’t you write me your email address & i will contact you wjen ukraine is going to reach crimea

  25. Neil Ross

    September 4, 2023 at 2:50 pm

    One thing is clear, the so-called Russian trolls won this comment battle.

    The UAR continue to make the blunder of taking Western media headlines as factual.

    We will see where we are a month from now.

  26. Sofronie the Monk

    September 4, 2023 at 6:20 pm

    @VaibhavRaj Singh: My, my, aren’t we well informed. Then it’s surprising how you did not know that women were serving in the Ukrainian military long before the invasion. And many volunteered after.

  27. CRS

    September 4, 2023 at 10:40 pm

    What happens now? Ukraine keeps attacking Russian bombers with cardboard drones, pushes through their weak defenses with new Western tanks, and continues to shred the Orcs.

  28. Sofronie the Monk

    September 5, 2023 at 12:42 am

    @from Russia with stupidity:
    1. The sooner, the better.
    2. The sooner, the better.

    How about one from me?

    When is Russia gonna take Kyiv?
    A. In 3 days.
    B. Kyiv already welcomed the Russian liberators.
    C. Putin never wanted Kyiv, it was all a feint.

  29. June

    September 5, 2023 at 3:29 am

    Even Daniel Davis admitted that Ukraine had made a breakthrough. Dragon’s teeth, minefields and trenches are very old relics and, if Ukraine had air support, they would not survive for long. At least I see plenty of evidence that the Ukrainian military has learned a lot about mine management. The next phase would therefore be easier. With the F-16s, the bombing campaign is coming this winter.

  30. Niewieder

    September 5, 2023 at 9:01 am

    Sorry, but when I look at the article and a large part of the comments, I wonder, do most have the head actually only to cut hair, as they used to say in our country. You only need to look at Ukrainian videos on, for example, Telegram and then, in contrast to Russian videos, turn on the head. Of course, at Zaporozhye there is a certain forward thrust of Ukrainian units, but as they say themselves have not even reached the 1 Verteitigungslinie, sondenr only the so-called gray zone occupied and that under tremendous losses of hardware and software. One should then ask oneself was it worth it? On the other hand, the Russian army is advancing on the northern front. So one should ask oneself who wins what here? If then Selensky wants the Europeans to send home the Ukrainians who are of military age, it means nothing else that he is running out of soft power. Polish media report about it quite openly. Apart from that, has the author of the article ever been on the front line? Probably not, so why should he be an expert. Probably just as an expert as Mr. Rozheimer from the German Spiegel, a lot of hot air about nothing. So how long does the USA still want to burn senseless dollars in Ukraine, instead of working on the many construction sites in the USA, Maui, railroad network etc.? Soon 50 trillion dollars in debt, where do you think that ends?

  31. Gary D Jacobs

    September 5, 2023 at 9:32 am


    FYI: Reznikov is on record saying that as soon as he secured promises of F16s for Ukraine, his duty as minister would be done.

    He handled his business, and stepped down.

    Of course he is also accused of not handling certain issues of ‘corruption’ well, such as the price of eggs for soldiers, and a snafoo with coats for summer that were bought for winter.

    Name me a single Russian minister who has beenfired over corruption.

    The new Ukrainian Def. minister is not only a hawk on anti-Corruption issues…he is a Crimean Tatar who was born in Uzbekistan because his family was ethnically cleansed from Crimea by Russians.

    His appointment is considered a signal about the next phase of the war, and a message to Russia that the true people of Crimea are coming for their land back.

    Furthermore, Reznikov has never been the one conducting strategy for the war.

    That isnt what a Defense Minister’s job is in Ukraine any more than it is in the US.

    That job always goes to Generals. And as I said before, I lost count of how many Generals Russia has had to replace.

    Bottom line: Once again nothing you say stands up to the slightest bit of basic research.

  32. Jim

    September 5, 2023 at 1:32 pm

    Gary, I and many others have access to geo-located videos from the front and take that evidence into consideration.

    At this point, the Russians have choices:

    1. They can counter-attack where Kiev has made advances into Russia’s zone of security… taking advantage of professionally prepared defensive lines, keeping Kiev’s soldiers in the low ground, “gullies” as as the system was designed to do.

    2. They can counter-offensive behind Kiev’s front line forces (closer to a “Big” arrow offensive).

    3. Or a combination of the above tactics depending on the military situation at any particular point along the front and in the near-rear areas used by Kiev for supply chains to support the soldiers in the bulge, aka, Russia’s security zone.

    Russia’s ability to carry out the above will determine how Kiev’s offensive will unfold in the coming weeks.

    Or in contrast, Russia’s ability to carry out the Surovikin Line Strategy. And, if they are able to do so, Kiev’s forces will be exhausted by the end of September (Kiev has already thrown their strategic ‘reserves’ in the offensive).

    What then?

  33. Gary Jacobs

    September 5, 2023 at 8:59 pm


    LoL, you have shown zero ability to post anything reflecting that you have seen geo located footage.

    If you did, you would know Russia is already failing at everything you just proposed.

    As well, Geolocated footage puts a significant amount of Ukrainian infantry east of the 3rd layer of Russia’s prepared lines south east of Verbove.

    Past the anti-tank trench. Past the Dragons teeth.

    Further footage, from Russians, shows Ukrainians far further south east of Robotyne that most western Hacks like Davis want to believe.

    As well, it looks like Ukraine is about to take Hill 166, and the rest of the remaining high ground north of Tokmak.

    As for Ukraine’s forces, you need to read better. I have repeatedly noted that:

    -Ukraine has 31 Abrams tanks coming. Deliveries begin in about 10 days.

    100+ Leopard 1s. Deliveries already begun.

    More CV90s

    All of the above have fresh troops trained on those vehicles.

    I almost forgot the 1000ish fresh Ukrainian marines that received enhanced training in the UK that are now coming home.

    As well, Ukraine still has brigades in reserve.

    Bottom lin: as usual, nothing you post stands up tothe slightest bit of basic research.

  34. TheDon

    September 5, 2023 at 9:26 pm

    Davis is confused or the democrats dont want the truth out before a presidential election.

    Robotyne is one block long , looks like maybe 10 homes surrounded by farm land.
    Not a real win.

    Lay it out.
    Why dont you get some real assessment since this affects our future?

    Nice, Ukraine falls, NK joins Russia and China…but hey..we won the election.

    Better face reality.

  35. Brett

    September 5, 2023 at 10:01 pm


    Very clever trying to position Russian forces getting slaughtered and ceding territory as a tactical victory.

    Russia lost the initiative and being forced to play defense isn’t in line with their strategic goals. After failing to take Kiev in 3 days and failing for an additional 530+ days, Russia’s only hope is that Ukraine feels bad about how many orcs they kill before Russian mothers lead a march on Moscow.

    Or that people like Davis convince western policy makers that no equipment can possibly make a difference on the battlefield.

    Ukraine’s morale seems strong. Western support seems strong. Russian defenses are weakening.

    I expect a Russian ‘good will gesture’ in short order.

  36. George Gordon Byron

    September 6, 2023 at 1:56 am

    For June and his companions:
    1) Even Daniel Davis admitted that Ukraine has made a breakthrough.
    Answer: Ukrainian realistic military analysts with real military training and experience do not confirm this breakthrough. The fights are in the gray zone.
    In addition, according to the canons of military science, line 1 is the weakest (battalions, brigade), line 2 (division, corps), line 3 (Several brigades, corps or divisions make up an army). Each line has its own human, technical and combat resources and capabilities. At the moment, there are 300 thousand people on the contact line from the Russian side, 200 thousand people in the reserve, about a thousand tanks in the reserve, and much more (self-propelled guns, infantry fighting vehicles, armored personnel carriers, artillery systems, etc.).
    A breakthrough is made according to the canons of military science within 24-30 hours. Then there is a real offensive or it is thwarted. More than a week has passed, there is no collapse of Russian lines. And there are no festive fireworks in Ukraine. Other fireworks with rockets and UAVs are arranged by Russia in Ukraine throughout the territory every day.
    2) Yours: “Dragon’s teeth, minefields and trenches are very old relics, and if Ukraine had air support, they would not last long.”
    Answer: if my grandmother … then she would have been a grandfather.
    3) Yours: “With the F-16, the bombing campaign will begin this winter.”
    Answer: only with Westernized pilots. How much experience do you have in the Air Force? I am 20 years old, I am a retired lieutenant colonel.

  37. from Russia with love

    September 6, 2023 at 5:22 am

    @Sofronie the Monk
    lol 🙂
    you wrote all summer that the Russian army is in a panic. you wrote that the Russian army is running out of shells. you, referring to some Popov, wrote that Russia is doing poorly with supplies and counter-battery combat, wrote that several thousand Russian tanks and hundreds of thousands of soldiers were destroyed over the summer alone. you just wrote that Ukraine broke through the Russian defense! Or was it written by Gary D Jacobs? What difference does it make, you are like twin brothers. 🙂 what happened? you, suddenly, are not ready to say that Ukraine will take at least Tokmak in a week? Do you believe in the lies you write? you constantly write about the fact that Ukraine almost won, and Russia almost lost, but when they ask you for specifics, at least some, you hide in the bushes. 🙂
    if you yourself do not believe in your lies, then why are you writing this? to show that you are stupid?

  38. from Russia with love

    September 6, 2023 at 5:53 am

    @Gary D Jacobs
    “Name me a single Russian minister who has been fired over corruption.”
    I doubt that Jim knows anything about the fight against corruption in Russia, so I will answer this.
    Ulyukaev – Minister of Finance. not only removed from office, but also convicted and is now serving a sentence in prison. also, many officials and governors of lesser rank were convicted and sent to prison on charges of corruption.
    Have any US senators been jailed for corruption? of course not! The United States made corruption legal. 😉 that’s why you have a hammer in the store costs $ 5, but if it was bought for the army, then it costs $ 10,000. 🙂
    “The new Ukrainian Def. minister is not only a hawk on anti-Corruption issues…”
    He’s also a pedophile! 🙂 there is a video with him and the boys floating around the internet. Gary come back from heaven to earth! in Ukraine, ministers are appointed not on the principle of compactness, but on the principle of loyalty and control by Zelensky. Umirov is a character on whom there is already so much compromising evidence that he can be shot right away not only in Ukraine, but in any country. he was appointed due to the fact that he is completely controlled by Zelensky and will do everything he is ordered to do. If necessary, they will send the children to Rabotino to die. at this time you will write here about how patriotic it is. 🙂
    “His appointment is considered a signal about the next phase of the war, and a message to Russia that the true people of Crimea are coming for their land back.”
    is this the guy who organized the water blockade of the Crimea? yes perishing, indeed “a true resident of Crimea.” 🙂
    Gary, I get the impression that what is happening is some kind of large-scale sarcasm. now a fake “woman” who was appointed as a Ukrainian speaker for an English-speaking audience will tell you about the fake successes of a fake “true resident of Crimea” who did not live in Crimea. 🙂

  39. George Gordon Byron

    September 7, 2023 at 3:27 am

    For Brett and others like him:
    1) Yours: “He is very cleverly trying to present the defeat of Russian troops and the cession of territory as a tactical victory.”
    Answer: It is even smarter to present the failure of the “counteroffensive” of the Armed Forces of Ukraine as an operational-strategic victory of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and 52 attempts of the “golden” billion;
    2) To you: And here is an indisputable fact and result for Ukrainian apologists today:
    Allocation by the United States ONLY of about $45 billion for the needs of the counter-offensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, as a result of which, in three months, the Ukrainian army took control of about as many territories in the Zaporozhye region as it lost in the Kharkiv region.
    3) Yours: “Russia has lost the initiative, and the fact that she is forced to play defensively does not correspond to their strategic goals.”
    Answer: You are inventing Russia’s strategic goals as you go along.
    The strategic goals were:
    3.1) Non-accession of Ukraine to NATO and the EU: both goals are fulfilled.
    3.2) denazification and demilitarization of Ukraine: in progress.
    3.3) And as a bonus, in addition to the previously annexed Crimea, Russia also received the DPR, LPR, parts of other regions with wealth worth tens of trillions of dollars, several million people.
    4) After the failure to capture “Kyiv in 3 days” (the phrase of the most important US general Milli, which dunno people attribute to the Russian authorities)
    5) “Failed for more than 530 days…”
    See point 2);
    6) You can discuss your hopes of Ukraine and your expectations with Nostradamus. .

  40. Time for Some Truth

    September 7, 2023 at 4:21 am

    @jim, are you renouncing your evidently apparently-burdensome western life, and signing up to go fight with the relentless world class Russian army, for your precious dear-glorious-leader??

    I mean you absolutely worship Russian military forces and Putin, you little ingrate scumbag who wouldn’t survive a day in Russia as migrant without getting pulled off the street to sign up for the army!!

    Not to mention absurdly deluded observations about this alleged Russian military invincibility in Ukraine.

    19 Months later, fucking hilarious.



    WE celebrate EVERY SINGLE murdered Russian piece of filth, from 1941 to now, just know that, and show you fellow russian rapist filth this message, from AFRICA, who you RETARDS THINK loves you.

    Talking about corruption??! EVEN MORE PRICELESS YOU IMBECILE!


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