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Military: Ukraine has breached Russia's first line of defense near Zaporizhzhia

by Olena Goncharova September 3, 2023 3:58 AM 2 min read
A soldier stands on top of a destroyed Russian military vehicle in Novodarivka village, Zaporizhzhia Oblast, southeastern Ukraine on June 4, 2023. (Photo by Ukrinform/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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Ukrainian forces have achieved a significant breakthrough by successfully breaching Russia's initial defensive line near Zaporizhzhia, General Oleksandr Tarnavsky, the commander of Ukraine's military fighting in Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia oblasts, said in an interview with the Guardian.

This accomplishment comes after weeks of meticulous mine clearance operations. Tarnavsky expressed confidence that their progress would accelerate as they advance towards the less fortified second defensive line.

The general estimated that Russia had allocated the majority of its time and resources, approximately 60%, to fortify the first defensive line. In contrast, only about 20% had been dedicated to both the second and third lines. This strategic decision by Moscow was based on the assumption that Ukrainian forces would not break through the initial defenses.

He said during his first interview since the breakthrough that Ukrainian forces currently find themselves positioned between the first and second defensive lines. They have expanded their operations on both flanks of the breach and are actively consolidating control over recently gained territory.

“In the centre of the offensive, we are now completing the destruction of enemy units that provide cover for the retreat of Russian troops behind their second defensive line,” Tarnavsky said in the interview.

For weeks, Ukrainian troops encountered a vast minefield that hindered their progress. Infantry sappers cleared a path on foot, while Russian forces positioned behind the minefield adopted a defensive posture, awaiting the Ukrainian army's advancement. They targeted Ukrainian vehicles using artillery shells and drones.

Now that the minefield has been breached, Russian army has lost much of their advantage. “There is a very big difference between the first and second line of defense,” according to the general.

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