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Frontline report: Ukrainians breach 6 km of Russia’s defenses in one day

Damage from Ukrainian drone strike on Russia’s Pskov Oblast is more significant than earlier reports suggested. Ukrainian troops breach Russia’s second line of defense along its six-kilometer stretch on the southern front.
Ukrainian breakthrough near Robotyne, southern front. Map: Screenshot from the video
Frontline report: Ukrainians breach 6 km of Russia’s defenses in one day

Day 553: Aug 30

Today, there are a lot of important updates.

First of all, regarding the most successful Ukrainian strike, more information became available about the level of destruction of the Russian bases. Today, local Russian residents released more footage from the Russian strategic airfield in the Pskov region, which clearly shows a burning IL-76 airlifter. The narrator also mentioned that the second aircraft was burning simultaneously as well.

If yesterday Russian sources claimed that Ukrainians damaged four aircraft, then today some sources mentioned that six aircraft IL-76 were actually damaged. The spokesman for Ukrainian Intelligence commented on the situation and confirmed that Ukrainian forces indeed conducted a major attack with the goal of destroying some of the most advanced and precious strategic aircraft. He also said that four aircraft were completely destroyed and cannot be repaired, while the number of damaged aircraft is still being determined.

Screenshot from a video showing the Russian military IL-76 cargo plane burning near Novgorod overnight into 30 August 2023.

Recently released satellite footage helped in determining the extent of the damage. Judging by the black marks on the fuselage of the aircraft and several firefighting vehicles, there are at least two more aircraft damaged. However, the weather was cloudy, and most of the airfield could not be seen, so it is quite possible that the level of losses is much higher, especially given that Ukrainians struck the airfield in several waves, targeting different parts of the airfield.

The Russian media sources discussed this event in disbelief, claiming that it is impossible to cross more than 700 km without being detected, which is why they concluded that the attack was conducted by the Baltic states on behalf of Ukraine and claimed that they needed to be wiped out. Others said that the Russian air defense could not be so weak along the border with enemies, so the drones must have crossed the territory of Belarus with the prior approval of Lukashenko. Both versions are extremely unlikely, especially given that Ukrainian drones are targeting Russian bases around Moscow on a regular basis.

By the way, that is why Russians started introducing some changes to these bases. Recently released satellite footage shows some of the Russian strategic bombers Tu-22m3 with atypical camouflage. The analysts concluded that Russians just glued the camo to confuse Ukrainian drones that are equipped with aiming systems based on visual identification of targets by size. The camouflage supposedly does not allow for the identification of the sizes properly, causing the drones to miss their targets. The method is very dubious, but it is still a testament to the fact that Ukrainian drones destroyed a noticeable number of bombers.

The strikes also continue today. The first target of the strike became the Bryansk region. Russian sources reported that Ukrainians attempted to destroy a connection tower but that the Russian air defense shot down all drones. The footage, however, indicates that some drones reached their destination.

Map: screenshot from the video

But the biggest news comes from the Tokmak direction. Just several days ago, we were talking about how Ukrainians reached the second line of defense, and today, Ukrainian fighters from the 82nd and 47th Brigades have already breached it. Russian sources reported that Ukrainians basically ignored the region, where Russians deployed thousands of troops over the last few days and conducted a powerful attack in the direction of Verbove. Geolocated footage shows how Russians are shelling the northern part of Verbove, which indicates that Ukrainians are already storming the settlement. Such a development indicates that Russians lost control over 6 km of trenches virtually in one day. And these trenches were supposed to be the main and the most powerful fortifications that were supposed to stop the Ukrainian advancement completely.

Robotyne-Verbove area as of 30 August 2023. Map: screenshot from the video

Right now, Ukrainians are trying to consolidate control over as many fortifications as possible. If Ukrainians manage to hold the ground and repel Russian counterattacks, the second line of defense will collapse completely.

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.

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