Day 523. 31 July 2023
More information became available about the Ukrainian strike on the Chonhar bridge, on 29 July, which connects Crimea to the Kherson Oblast.
Russian sources circulated footage of the intact Chonhar bridge to back up the claims of the Russian Ministry of Defense that all missiles were shot down.
Unfortunately for Russians, today Planet Labs released satellite footage that clearly shows that Ukrainians successfully destroyed a section of the railroad bridge.
It turned out that the circulated footage showed the intact section of the bridge, while the huge hole was located right to the left.
Even though the Russian military and media tried to restrict access to the area, today, someone finally took a picture of one of the holes in the bridge. The collapsed section hasn’t still been shown, which indicates that Russians likely tried to show the section with the smallest damage to minimize the backlash.
As mentioned last time, such developments undermine Russian logistics significantly.
It is true that Russians can supply the Zaporizhzhia Group from the east. However, Russian forces simply cannot rely solely on this supply line.
Firstly, most ammunition depots and warehouses with equipment are within HIMARS range, and after Ukrainian got Strom Shadow missiles, even Mariupol and Berdiansk became unsafe.
Secondly, given the risk of strikes, the supply leverage is extreme, as Russians need to travel half a thousand km to supply the Kherson Group.
That is why, thirdly, over the last eight months, Russians have moved all of their warehouses, ammunition depots, and reparation centers to Crimea, assuming that this is a safe haven.
And that is why by destroying Russian bases and logistics in Crimes, Ukrainians are creating substantial problems for the Russian Zaporizhzhia Group.
In fact, over the last week, Ukrainians exploited Russian problems with logistics and penetrated Russian defense by 5 km in the area of Robotyne in the southern frontline.
At first, Ukrainians started attacking Russian positions in the tree lines west of the settlement, and Russian analysts concluded that the main goal of Ukrainians was to split Russian forces into two groups and enter Robotyne itself.
However, it turned out that Ukrainians were just improving their tactical position, and the main attack happened east of Robotyne. Ukrainians chose to advance in the lowlands.
There are three reasons for the choice of this attack vector. First, Russian forces expected Ukrainians to continue moving along the ridge, which is why this direction was heavily reinforced.
Secondly, Russian forces did not fortify this area as much, so their defense here was quite weak.
And thirdly, Ukrainians could assume a very convenient position in the forest that would allow hiding troops and equipment right in front of Robotyne and also control the eastern side of Robotyne from the part of the forest that is located on the hill.
In order to make this work, Ukrainians once again played along with the Russian expectations and launched a series of assaults from the north and west, but only with the aim of fixing Russian forces.
Once they successfully drew the attention away from the main direction, they penetrated Russian defenses from the east. Due to the rigidity of the Russian army, Ukrainians successfully used this tactic multiple times.
Russians released geolocated footage, confirming that Ukrainians established control over the Russian trenches east of Robotyne.
Next, Ukrainian forces started attacking Robotyne from the east while simultaneously getting deeper, and widening the bridgehead. Geolocated footage confirmed that Ukrainians gained a lot of ground in front of Verbove as well.
The footage shows how Ukrainians were already testing the Russian anti-tank ditch by sending an empty armored fighting vehicle into it. The driver was seen jumping out of it in advance.
The latest updates suggest that Ukrainians are already operating in the vicinity of Novoprokopivka. In total, Ukrainians managed to advance by 5 km in all directions and develop a significant bridgehead between Robotyne and Verbove.
For now, the intensity of clashes has temporarily decreased due to the rain. However, if Ukrainians make one more such push and enter Novoprokopivka and Verbove, Russian flanks will collapse.
In our daily frontline report, we pair up with the military blogger Reporting from Ukraine to keep you informed about what is happening on the battlefield in the Russo-Ukrainian war.