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Ukraine's counteroffensive - Breakthrough of Russia's first defense line in south reported

Ukraine's counteroffensive - Breakthrough of Russia's first defense line in south reported Commander of the operational-strategic grouping of forces "Tavria" Oleksandr Tarnavskyi (photo: Facebook)

"After several weeks of painstaking demining work, Ukrainian forces decisively breached the first line of Russia's defense near Zaporizhzhia and are counting on faster progress during the crossing of the weaker second line," said Oleksandr Tarnavskyi, the commander of the operational-strategic grouping of forces "Tavria," in an interview with Observer.

According to him, Russia spent 60% of its time and resources on building the first line of defense and only 20% on the second and third lines, as it did not expect Ukrainian forces to break through.

"We are now between the first and second defensive lines," said Tarnavskyi.

He noted that currently, the Defense Forces are advancing on both sides of the breach and consolidating territory captured during recent battles.

"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," the general added.

Tarnavskyi revealed that the Defense Forces were trapped for several weeks due to a massive minefield. He noted that infantry engineers were slowly clearing the assault route on foot.

According to him, Russian forces "simply stood and waited for the Ukrainian army," shelling their equipment with shells and drones. However, this barrier has now been overcome, and the occupiers are forced to resort to maneuvers, while Ukrainians have returned their tanks and other armored vehicles to the battlefield after demining.

"The enemy is pulling up reserves, not only from Ukraine but also from Russia. But sooner or later, the Russians will run out of all the best soldiers. This will give us an impetus to attack more and faster. Everything is ahead of us," he emphasized.

Tarnavskyi stated that unfortunately, the evacuation of the wounded was complicated, which also hindered the advance of Ukrainian forces.

"In my opinion, the Russians believed the Ukrainians would not get through this line of defence. They had been preparing for over one year. As soon as any equipment appeared there, the Russians immediately began to fire at it and destroy it. That’s why de-mining was carried out only by infantry and only at night.," he added.

Tarnavskyi explained that there is a significant difference between the first and second lines of defense - the second line is not as well built, so the Ukrainian Armed Forces can use their equipment.

"The closer to victory, the harder it is. Why? Because, unfortunately, we are losing the strongest and best. So now we have to concentrate on certain areas and finish the job. No matter how hard it is for all of us," he said.

Breakthrough of Russian defense

Estonian intelligence believes that the Ukrainian Armed Forces have breached the first line of defense in the Zaporizhzhia direction in the vicinity of Robotyne.

The head of the Intelligence Center of the Estonian Defense Forces, Colonel Margo Grosberg, stated that in recent weeks, the Armed Forces, through their actions in the Zaporizhzhia region, specifically in the Robotyne and Verbove areas, have managed to exhaust the occupiers.

Additionally, John Kirby, a representative from the White House for national security, stated that Ukrainian forces have made significant progress in recent days in the southern direction, particularly in the area of Russia's second line of defense.