September 2, 2023 | 5:22 p.m
Ukrainian forces have reportedly breached Russia’s first and strongest line of defense in the south and targeted Russian military units providing cover for fleeing soldiers.
A senior military official said the breakthrough came after weeks of slow progress as Ukrainian forces cleared minefields in the Zaporizhia region amid a counter-offensive.
brig. General Oleksandr Tarnavsky he told the Guardian Moscow’s first line of defense was the strongest, because Russia devoted most of its resources to it because it did not expect Ukraine to go this far.
Tarnavsky estimated that Russia spent about 60 percent of its time and resources building the first line of defense, while allocating about 20 percent each to the second and third lines.
“We are now between the first and second lines of defence,” he said.
He added, “At the center of the attack, we are now completing the destruction of the enemy units that provide cover for the retreat of the Russian forces behind their second defensive line.”
In the weeks leading up to this breach, Ukrainian infantry engineers meticulously cleared a path through a minefield, while Russian forces “stand and wait for the Ukrainian army” as they do so, using drones and artillery to snatch vehicles away.
However, since the defensive line was broken, Moscow began moving its forces from Kherson in the west and Liman in the northeast, as well as from within Russia, to the southern region.
“The enemy is drawing reserves not only from Ukraine, but also from Russia,” Tarnavsky said.
But sooner or later, the Russians will run out of best soldiers. This will give us an impetus to attack more and faster. Everything is ahead.”
He added that the counterattack got off to a slow start because of the mine clearance operation – which had to be carried out at night to avoid Russian strikes – and because wounded soldiers had to be evacuated.
However, he said that this breakthrough was a huge step.
“In my opinion, the Russians believed that the Ukrainians would not be able to cross this line of defense,” Tarnavsky said.
They have been preparing for over a year. They did everything to ensure that this region was well prepared.
US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Washington had taken note of Ukraine’s counterattack, which he said had made “some significant progress” over the past 72 hours.
The progress came as the United States appears to be planning to send controversial depleted uranium munitions as part of a new aid package.
The multimillion-dollar aid package could include armor-piercing uranium rounds designed to be fired from US-made Abrams tanks, which are expected to be included in the same package. According to a report citing a draft document, US officials.
The UK sent depleted uranium shells, which were to be used in Britain’s Challenger 2 tanks, in March, although the decision sparked a backlash after Russia used the shipment of shells, which it claimed contained a “nuclear component”, as an excuse. to a nuclear weapons station. On Belarusian territory.
Meanwhile, Ukraine continued to target the main bridge connecting Russia to Crimea, according to officials in Moscow.
Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Saturday that Russia had destroyed three naval drones that were trying to attack the bridge, leading to its temporary closure for the third time in less than a year.
Ukraine, which has generally avoided commenting on the attacks carried out from Russian territory, has not confirmed whether it launched the drones.
with mail wires