- Ukraine says it intercepted 36 Russian cruise missiles in one day.
- Ukraine counteroffensive ‘not a stalemate’, says US
- Two alleged Ukrainian intelligence agents were jailed in Russia.
- Russia claims that three battalions of Ukrainian soldiers conducted a “massive assault” on the Russian frontline.
Russian reports suggest there has been a significant Ukrainian mechanized operation which has broken through some pre-prepared Russian defences to the east of Zaporizhzhia. The focus appears to be the town of Robotyne which is southeast of Orikhiv.
Interpreting what’s going on is complicated by the fact Ukraine does not routinely comment on progress with their operations, and Russia often over-dramatizes the scale of Ukrainian operations to highlight Russian success in pushing such offensives back.
Russia claims that three battalions of Ukrainian soldiers conducted a “massive assault” on the Russian frontline, including over 80 Ukrainian armoured vehicles. Evidence suggests that the Ukrainian forces did break through the first line of Russian defences as there are images of a Bradley armoured vehicle and a T-72 tank 2.5km south of the Russian frontline.
What is not clear is whether Ukraine has yet committed its main offensive forces – 10th Corps – or whether this latest attack is part of the “softening up” phase that has characterized the Ukrainian offensive to date.
Although the Russian defensive line is extensive and several kilometres deep and will therefore take some time to fully breach, it is likely that the majority of Russian forces will be manning the northern edge and thus Ukraine will be keen to capitalize swiftly on any gains made. However, the Sea of Azov remains 60 miles further south, so the Ukrainians still have a long way to go to sever the Russian land bridge between Crimea and the Donbas.
But, in last night’s address, President Zelenskyy did report that Ukrainian forces “had very good results”. Last night, Volodymyr Zelenskyy said there had been “very good results” on the frontline – so it’s possible this could be what he was referring to.
In its latest update on the conflict, the Institute for the Study of War said Ukrainian forces appeared to have launched the assault towards the village of Robotyne in western Zaporizhzhia. Russian sources, including the country’s defence ministry, claimed troops “broke through Russian defensive positions” to the northeast, the ISW said. It added that geolocated footage shows Ukraine likely advanced to within 2.5km directly east of Robotyne during the attack before Russian forces engaged in “elastic defence” tactics and pushed them back.
But differing claims from “prominent” Russian sources over the scale of the attack – including the number of Ukrainian vehicles used and how many Russian forces managed to destroy – means the “actual results… remain unclear”, says the ISW.
The think tank said such disagreement among “prominent” Russian sources may point to Ukraine having been “more successful” than commentators claimed.
(With inputs from agencies)