Ukrainian armor penetrated Russia’s main defensive line in the southeast for the first time and made significant progress towards the town of Verbov, an indication that the counterattack continues to accelerate and may soon reach a breakthrough.
Ukrainian infantry forces succeeded in bypassing the main layer of defenses on the front line weeks ago, but armored vehicles have now bypassed the Dragon’s Tooth barriers and are advancing near the town of Verbov in a decisive step for the Kiev operation.
Armored vehicles, including US-made Strykers, penetrated the main layer of the notorious “Surovikin Line” of defences, named after Russian General Sergei Surovikin, and consisting of trenches, mines and anti-tank obstacles.
The Institute for the Study of War assessed for the first time last week that armored vehicles had likely penetrated the main layer, although it was not immediately clear whether the positions would have held.
Ukrainian leaders also confirmed to the media that armored vehicles exploded across the main line after troops cleared the road.
Online videos and photos also show the hack, suggesting that Ukraine is securing its position behind Russia’s defensive layers.
If Ukraine can secure its advance around the cities of Verbov and Novoprokopovka next, it can advance towards Tokmak, a key waypoint toward the ultimate goal of seizing Melitopol.
Ukraine still has a long way to go, at least 15 miles or so, to reach Tokmak, and the road is littered with more Russian defenses.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian forces continue to advance near Verbov. He said Ukrainian military blogger Konstantin Mashovets, who described the forces as “trying to penetrate the west of the village and bypass it from the north.”
Other Ukrainian forces are fighting fiercely against Russian forces in Novoprokopovka, where progress appears more limited. Russian forces are fiercely counterattacking Ukraine’s advance, but are expending large numbers of troops and supplies to do so.
Ukraine launched its counterattack in June and faced difficulties in achieving any progress. But in August, troops broke through the first main layer of defense and captured the town of Robottain.
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