Indications are growing that Ukrainian forces have penetrated Russian defenses along part of the southern front lines in the Zaporizhia region and are widening a gap towards the strategic town of Tokmak, while intensifying attacks on Crimea. occupied by Russia.
The Ukrainian General Staff declared this Friday that new successes had been achieved in two areas: towards the town of Novoprokopivka and further east, towards another small settlement, Ocheretuvate.
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Earlier this week, the Ukrainians said they had secured the village of Robotyne. Fighting continues south of that town.
Almost no buildings remain standing on Robotyne after weeks of fighting in the area. Credit: Telegram Valerii Zaluzhnyi/Reuters
The General Staff said the units “are consolidating their positions, inflicting artillery fire on identified enemy targets and carrying out counter-battery operations.”
The long-awaited Ukrainian counteroffensive has been underway for weeks, with fighting centered on the eastern and southern fronts.
Kyiv launched the campaign in the hope of recapturing territory seized by Russia. But, so far, the advances have been little and have been achieved after arduous effort.
Now several Russian military bloggers paint a bleak picture of the frontline situation for Moscow’s forces in parts of the south.
One of the best known, “WarGonzo”, said that the Ukrainians had gained a foothold at Robotyne “and are attacking Novoprokopivka, which is under heavy shelling.”
Ukrainian troops fire missiles near the front line in the Zaporizhia region. Credit: Viacheslav Ratynskyi/Reuters
Ukrainian forces also launched a parallel attack in the Verbove area to the east, amid heavy artillery fire in both directions.
A blogger called “Rogozin at the front”, linked to the Russian 58th Combined Arms Army, said there had been a buildup of enemy armored vehicles.
“The enemy is gathering forces for a decisive blow. They need to reach Verbove and then Tokmak,” he wrote. “We are resisting.”
Another blogger, “Belorusky silovik” [Belarusian enforcer], said that “the biggest concern right now is Robotyne. The guys are having a very hard time there. In the afternoon, fighting was already going on in the south of the settlement, where the enemy was.” .
A Ukrainian serviceman photographed near a front line in the Zaporizhia region. Credit: Viacheslav Ratynskyi/Reuters
“It is beginning to look objectively that there is a lack of new blood on the front,” the blogger wrote.
“Otryady Kadyrovtsy” [Kadyrov’s Detachments] painted a similar picture, saying: “Heavy fighting continues in the Robotyne area. The bastards are advancing rapidly, covered by artillery strikes.”
The blog claimed that Ukraine was using aviation to cover the advancing infantry and had brought more supplies of ammunition to the Mala Tokmachka area.
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Other sources report that the Ukrainian forces are suffering heavy losses. The Russian Defense Ministry claimed that 110 Ukrainian soldiers were killed in the latest fighting and that Western armor supplied to Ukraine had been destroyed.
Yevgeniy Balitskiy, the Russian-appointed governor of occupied Zaporizhia, said on Friday that “at the cost of colossal losses yesterday the [Ukrainians] were able to reach the first defensive line of engineering barriers, but they mostly advance even without artillery support.” .
“As a consequence, the enemy’s assault groups, which managed to reach the first defensive line yesterday, were completely destroyed overnight,” he added.
Other Russian sources have made similar claims about heavy Ukrainian losses inflicted by Russian aircraft and artillery.
But Pozyvnoi Osetin, another Russian military blogger, reported that “the losses on both sides are not negligible.”
“All the commanders on both sides are now concerned only with Robotyne. Fighting continues every minute,” he added.
Another Russian blogger said that this was a critical moment on the battlefield, adding that the Russian forces need to hold their positions for at least another month and a half to try to gain ground in another area of the front line and try to change the situation. from the battlefield.
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On Thursday, the spokeswoman for Ukraine’s southern command, Nataliya Humenyuk, said that Russian forces were bringing more troops to the area of