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Frontline report: Ukrainians launch offensive on Verbove, breaching Russian second line of defense in Zaporizhzhia Oblast

Ukrainian troops have launched their offensive in the direction of Verbove, a village located on the Russian second line of defense in Zaporizhzhia Oblast. Following the liberation of Robotyne, Ukrainians are continuing to advance towards nearby settlements.
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Frontline report: Ukrainians launch offensive on Verbove, breaching Russian second line of defense in Zaporizhzhia Oblast

First of all, more information became available about the powerful Ukrainian attack that allowed Ukrainians to breach the second line of defense. Russian sources started raising the alarm about the imminent threat near Verbove already the day before Ukrainians conducted the decisive operation.

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Russian analysts reported that Ukrainians received fresh supplies of Western artillery shells and were getting ready to unleash them. Given that Ukrainians were also seen relocating additional elements to Mala Tokmachka, they concluded that the main direction of attack would become Verbove.

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Interestingly, the Institute for the Study of War made the same conclusion a day prior, but for a different reason. They assessed that despite a huge number of fortifications, such as anti-tank ditches and dragon’s teeth anti-tank obstacles, this line of defense may be weaker. Firstly, it was not mined as extensively to allow Russians to retreat from the first line, and secondly, Russians seem to be struggling with reserves, meaning that there are not enough people to hold the line.

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Given that Ukrainian forces appeared to be within striking distance of these defenses, attacking Russians before they can mine the approaches and reinforce the region would be ideal.

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But looking at all the accumulated combat footage over the last two weeks, it becomes clear that Ukrainians launched the offensive operation in the direction of Verbove more than a week ago, exactly when Ukrainians breached the Russian defense in Robotyne and secured a stable bridgehead.

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It seems like the Ukrainian command knew that with these positions, capturing the whole of Robotyne was just a matter of time, so they could allow themselves to go to the next plan.

The first thing Ukrainians did to undermine the Russian defense near Verbove was destroying ammunition depots.

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Geolocated footage shows that Ukrainians destroyed depots in the village itself, as well as on the forefront positions and trenches. This way, Ukrainians ensured that the troops on the zero line would definitely not be able to receive new supplies because the reserves in the rear were also destroyed.

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Ukrainian fighters also published a video of how they destroyed a command post of the detachments responsible for the security of the northern part of Verbove.

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Simultaneously, Ukrainian artillery conducted intense counterbattery fire and focused on diminishing Russian fire support in this direction, allowing Ukrainian assault units to storm positions more easily.

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Lastly, Ukrainians also made an emphasis on preventing Russians from rotating their troops by tracking down and destroying fresh troops on the way. This way, Ukrainian assault units would have to deal with exhausted Russians, further simplifying the offensive.

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The result of this work was obvious, as Russian military bloggers reported that the situation around Verbove was extremely risky. On the decisive day, when Ukrainians launched the first reconnaissance-in-force operation with several groups consisting of 15 troops, the Russian defense started collapsing, and Ukrainians immediately established control over several fortifications.

The Ukrainian command understood the conditions were perfect and immediately reinforced this direction with units from the 82nd and 46th Brigades. On top of that, Russian sources noted that Ukrainians even supported this offensive with several fighter jets.

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Soon, Ukrainian fighters released videos from the newly captured Russian trenches and fortifications, confirming that the storming operation went well, and Russians retreated from the second line of defense.

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Russian sources also published combat footage showing how Russians are shelling the northern part of Verbove as part of artillery preparation before a counterattack. The freshest reports suggest that Ukrainians consolidated control over the newly gained positions, and Russians failed to recapture them over the last day.

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And this is not surprising, as Ukrainians cleared a lot of ground. In fact, judging by the latest information, Ukrainians are determined to maintain the momentum because today, some Russian sources reported that Ukrainians were launching an attack to the south of Verbove, to cut off Russian supplies to the village and then starting storming this village simultaneously from two sides.

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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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