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Frontline report: Ukrainians surpass Russian fortification in key advance near Robotyne, southern front

Ukrainian forces make a daring move in the southern front, breaching a critical Russian fortification on the Tokmak direction, while Russia scrambles to bolster its military presence in the area.
Ukrainian Army’s Leopard 2 tanks. Screeshot from the Armed Forces’ video
Frontline report: Ukrainians surpass Russian fortification in key advance near Robotyne, southern front

Day 556: Sep 02

The biggest news comes from the Tokmak direction. After Robotyne was lost, Russian sources started circulating information about the Russian plans. They claimed that the retreat from Robotyne was done to allow Ukrainians to get deep inside the pocket to close in in the future with as many Ukrainians as possible. Russians also conducted an information operation and released fake documents to claim that Ukrainians received an order to kill every Russian soldier who would surrender. This information operation aims to scare Russian troops and force them to fight till the end instead of surrendering.

Map: screenshot from the video.

Unfortunately for Russians, today, they lost the most powerful fortification south of Robotyne anyway. At noon, Russian sources confirmed that Ukrainians breached the so-called fortification “Boot.” If we look at the topographic map, we can see that this position is also located on a hill, making it a formidable strong point.

Interestingly, Ukrainians also did it after they deprioritized this direction and started focusing on Verbove. The reason why Ukrainians still managed to establish control over this position lies in the fact that the commander of the units on the ground was very patient and closely monitored how and when Russians were rotating their troops. When he collected all the necessary information, he prepared a small Ukrainian assault unit that caught them by surprise right during rotation and established total control over the fortification in minutes.

Some Russian sources claimed that this was the last powerful Ukrainian attack because there were no more troops and equipment left, while others gave a milder prognosis and claimed that Ukrainians had forces maximum for one more powerful push.

The Ukrainian side indirectly responded to this information operation by releasing a video with dozens of Western tanks, claiming that they still have a lot of resources and that Russians are yet to see a powerful attack.

And this is partially true because, so far, Ukrainians were facing extremely dense minefields that they needed to slowly and methodically pass and demine. But now, as Ukrainians already breached the second line of defense at least at 2 points, some Russian analysts started talking about the possibility of a more extensive use of tanks and heavy equipment, especially when Ukrainians get closer to the third line of defense south of Verbove.

And the Russian High Command seems to understand that Russian forces may not be able to withstand the pressure, especially given that the pace of Ukrainian advancement is gradually but steadily increasing.

Map: screenshot from the video

That is why, as reported by the Head of Ukrainian Intelligence, Kyrylo Budanov, the Russian military deployed elements of the newly formed 25th Combined Arms Army to the front. Interestingly, this new Army was created as a part of a long-term objective to increase the size of the military. However, due to the horrible situation on the front, Russians had to urgently send them to the front. According to Ukrainian Intelligence, the 25th Combined Arms Army would not be combat-ready until at least 2024.

Right now, the formation is severely understaffed, not near the strength of two divisions, and, on top of that, did not complete the training. The 25th Army is supposed to substitute forces in the Luhansk region, while severely degraded but, at least, experienced troops from the 41st Army are being redeployed toward Tokmak.

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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