Ukrainian soldiers seen in Zavitne Bazhannya
Ukrainian forces have breached a second Russian defensive position in almost as many weeks as part of one of their two main parts of the counter attack, geolocated footage has shown.
Ukrainian soldiers were spotted in the northern areas of Zavitne Bazhannya earlier this week but conclusive, geolocated footage appeared on Saturday (September 2).
The village is the next vertebrae along a spinal attack from Velyka Novosilka in the north down to Berdyansk on the Sea of Azov; the aim is to reach the coast and split the Russian land bridge from Crimea to far eastern Ukraine, isolating around 100,000 of Vladimir Putin’s troops.
On August 16, Hanna Mailar, the Ukrainian deputy defence minister, announced that Urozhaine, the village above Zavitne Bazhannya nicknamed “Harvest”, had been liberated. Only hours later, the soldiers began advancing again.
While the villages are only two miles apart, a full liberation of Zavitne Bazhannya would act as a springboard to attack Staromlynivka, where Russia’s main defensive line is located immediately to the south.
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The advance into Zavitne Bazhannya is only an incremental gain but is further evidence of a Ukrainian counter attack that is gaining momentum.
Their long-awaited offensive began on June 4 from Velyka Novosilka in Donetsk Oblast and Orikhiv to the west, in Zaporizhia Oblast.
An attempt to encircle the Russian forces in the besieged city of Bakhmut further east, as well as a subsequent attack in Kherson, southern Ukraine, over the Dnipro River, amounted to secondary flashpoints, in part being used to draw away Putin’s men from the two main axes in the centre of the 600-mile frontline.
Russian forces are committed to a similar tactic in northeast Ukraine where they are staging their only offensive trying to recapture Kupyansk.
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From June 5, the day after the counter offensive began, to the end of August, Ukraine had recaptured more than 60 square miles of territory, according to maps from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a US-based think-tank.
Those gains are small given Russian still occupies a similar territory but the increasing speed with which Ukraine is liberating settlements is signficant.
More than 35 percent of the territory Ukraine has reoccupied during their counter offensive has been wrestled back from Russia since August 22, excluding further advancement into Zavitne.
This is in large part due to Ukrainian forces finally overcoming miles-deep Russian minefields, where artillery fire concurrently rains from above, along significant sections of the frontline, effectively unleashing the forces in reserve onto the first entrenched positions sitting behind.
There are still at least three Russian defensive lines, with deep trenches, camouflaged armoured vehicles and tank traps, for Ukraine to navigate.
And the surrounding terrain of open fields and pockets of forested area will provide natural advantages to the Russia forces who can more easily hide their artillery stores beneath the dense canopies while picking off Ukrainians unable to find cover through the plains.
But Ukraine continues to destroy Russian artillery stores deep in the occupied territories with, among other weapons systems, the UK-supplied Storm Shadow long range missile.
And while along the Velyka Novosilka line the Ukrainian forces, led by units of the 35th and 38th Marine brigades, are closing in on the first Russian entrenchment, British-trained soldiers 45 miles to the west have already breached the so-called “Surovikin line” north of the village of Verbove.
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