The Ukrainian army is still making limited territorial gains south of the village of Robotyn and around the city of Bashmut, according to the US Institute for the Study of War (ISW). Russia is also trying to carry out counterattacks on the southern and eastern fronts, but according to ISW there is no evidence that the Russians have advanced. The British Ministry of Defense said on Tuesday that a new Russian attack was highly unlikely.
The maps below show the current front line, from Luhansk in the north to Kherson in the south. We always compare the situation with the beginning of June, the start date of the Ukrainian spring-summer offensive.
On the southern front, the Ukrainian offensive has been the most relatively successful so far. The two maps below show development, both in the area south of the village of Velika Novyselka on the border of Donetsk and Zaporizhia provinces, and to the west, near the city of Zaporizhia itself.
Since mid-June, Ukraine has regained control of 11 villages south of Velika Novyselka towards the Sea of Azov. Oruzhan, a village on the road to Mariupol, was the last Ukrainian success in mid-August. On August 23, the Ukrainian flag was also raised in the center of Robotyn, and since then Ukraine says it has completely retaken the village.
At the moment, it appears that Ukraine is mainly expanding and consolidating the narrow area it managed to recapture in Robotyn in the direction of the following villages, Novoprokopivka and Verbov. The fighting is mainly done with infantry units, but recently tanks and armored vehicles are also being used more frequently. In the Verbov direction, the entire Russian first line of defense consisting of dragon’s teeth, trenches and anti-tank ditches was breached for the first time.
Ukrainian authorities suspect that the Russians’ second and third lines of defense, located several kilometers apart, are less prepared and undermanned because the Russian army has deployed most of its resources and men on the first line. ISW cannot determine with certainty whether this is indeed the case.
The ultimate goal of the operation is to cut off the Russian land corridor linking Donbass to Crimea.
The Russian and Ukrainian armies are also engaged in heavy fighting in eastern Ukraine near Bashmut. Two weeks ago, Ukraine announced that it had liberated Klyshchevka, a village located directly south of Bashmut. This will be the second village recaptured by Ukraine within a few days. A few days ago, the Ukrainian army announced that it had liberated the nearby village of Andrievka.
The two maps below show the development at the front in the area around Bakhmut. The situation is again compared to the front line on June 1st.
What’s happening elsewhere?
In recent weeks, the Ukrainian military has carried out more and more attacks on Russian targets on the peninsula that Russia illegally annexed in 2014. It is using the only long-range missiles it has received from the West at the moment: the British Storm Shadow missile and its French counterpart, the Scalp EG. The range of both missiles is about 250 kilometers.
In early September, Ukraine managed to destroy a Russian submarine and landing ship during the bombardment of Sevastopol, the main port of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. Last week, there was an attack on the headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol.
Ukraine also hopes to acquire US ATACMS and German long-range Taurus missiles in the coming weeks to cripple Russian supply lines through Crimea.
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