Almost two weeks ago, the Ukrainian forces achieved a tactical breach in southern Ukraine.
Following months of fierce fighting, the Ukrainian success in the vicinity of Robotyne and Verbove in the Zaporizhzhia Oblast has raised Kyiv’s hopes for an operational breakthrough in the sector.
To prevent that, the Russian military is launching one counterattack after the other in an attempt to dislodge the Ukrainian forces and plug the gap before it’s too late.
Russian Tunnels and Counterattacks in Ukraine
The Ukrainian forces continue to push hard in the Zaporizhzhia Oblast, looking to achieve an operational breakthrough. However, they have to deal with constant Russian counterattacks.
“Russian forces are conducting tactical counterattacks in the Robotyne area as part of their elastic defense against ongoing Ukrainian offensive operations in western Zaporizhia Oblast,” the Institute for the Study of War assessed in its latest operational estimate on the war.
There is heavy fighting going on in the sector. During one counterattack, the Ukrainian 116th Mechanized Brigade destroyed five Russian infantry fighting vehicles
“The situation south of Robotyne is fluid as some tactically significant field fortifications have changed hands several times,” the Institute for the Study of War added.
The elastic defense concept has allowed the Russian forces to recapture lost territory soon after the Ukrainians took it.
Both sides are also using suicide drones to harass enemy infantry. Although the Russian forces are using electronic warfare methods to interfere with the Ukrainian drones and prevent them from causing extensive damage, they often fail.
In the intense fighting, both sides are suffering significant losses.
Russian Casualties in Ukraine
Meanwhile, on the ground on day 586 of the Kremlin’s “special military operation” in Ukraine, the Russian military and pro-Russian separatist forces took significant casualties.
Over the past 24 hours, the Russian forces lost a bit over 500 men killed, wounded, or captured, bringing the daily number of casualties on par with the conflict average. For about a week, the Russian daily casualties dropped significantly—in some days even reaching a wartime low—suggesting that the Ukrainians were consolidating their gains in southern Ukraine before making another push.
However, the Russian military’s artillery losses have continued to be extremely high. Over the past 48 hours alone, the Russian forces have lost more than 80 artillery guns and multiple launch rocket systems.
Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Monday, Ukrainian forces have killed and wounded approximately 279,080 Russian troops, destroyed 322 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 316 attack and transport helicopters, 4,717 tanks, 6,525 artillery pieces, 9,000 armored personnel carriers, and infantry fighting vehicles, 801 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 21 warships, submarines, boats, and cutters, 8,909 vehicles, and fuel tanks, 540 anti-aircraft batteries, 5,061 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 938 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 1,529 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 Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.