Russian sources claim a serious Ukrainian push on all three of those approaches, as Ukraine aims to sever the “land bridge” though southern Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia oblasts that connect mainland Russia to the occupied Crimean Peninsula. In particular, liberating Melitopol would crumble Russian defenses in this entire slice of territory. Furthermore, with Crimea’s water supply cut off and the Kerch Bridge in closer range of Ukrainian missile attacks, Russia’s hold on Crimea would be tenuous at best.
The latest updates from the front:
In the direction of Robotyne/Tokmak, Ukraine reportedly advanced 5 kilometers east of Robotyne and 2 kilometers west of the settlement. With continued pressure from the north, the town is now under threat from three sides. In fact, we now have video of Ukraine reaching Russia’s first line with the “Toblerone” concrete fortifications. It’s only a matter of time before Russia is forced to retreat from Robotyne, before their garrison there gets cut off.
We know Ukraine is there because of this video of them sending an unmanned vehicle to test the approach to that tank ditch.
The keen-eyed among you might notice two major things here: Nothing was fired at that vehicle as it approached the ditch, and it hit no mines. Is anyone manning this line? That would be something, huh? Never assume the best, but we can always hope for it.
To advance, Ukraine must bridge the tank ditch, get through the inevitable minefield between it and those white concrete pyramid barriers, and then hit the entrenched infantry presumably hidden in that tree line. Still weird that no anti-tank missiles were fired from that tree line. Either way, these are legit advances.
Still, this is the most heavily defended part of the front. Look at this hornet’s nest Ukraine must navigate to get to Tokmak.
Tokmak, again, is a key logistics hub for Russia. They know it, literally ringing it with defenses. Liberating Robotyne alone will put huge pressure on Russian supply lines in the town, as it will be in range of Ukrainian tube artillery. GMLRS rocket artillery can already hit it (and did so today), but those rounds are scarce and expensive. Extended-range shells cost around $8,000 and are far more plentiful compared to $100,000+ for GMLRS. Ukraine will be able to turn up the heat exponentially. Here’s a good explainer as to why Tokmak is so important.
Toward Staromlynivka/Mariupol, Ukrainian forces are now in Staromaiorske, and Russian sources claim Ukraine has moved past the town.
That means the towns of Zavitne Bazhannya, Urozhaine, and Staromlynivka are next. Ukraine is still around 8 kilometers from the first—and only—defensive line in this approach.
If they punch through here, Ukraine can either drive down toward Melitopol, fully severing the land bridge, or they can loop west and cut off Russian defenses from the rear. To be sure, that’s easier said than done, mostly because of the logistics of supporting such an operation. But it sure would be sweet.
Around Bakhmut, Ukraine continues to consolidate positions both north and south of the city. On its southern flank, Andriivka is likely liberated, while Ukraine holds the heights west of Klishchiivka and is pushing into the town.
Those Russian battlefield propagandists seem to be dropping like flies.
Wow, this is amazing:
Remember Seymour Hersh, last seen spewing fiction about the destruction of the Nord Stream pipeline? He’s got quite the doozy today, complaining about the latest attack on the Kerch Bridge.
Eagle-eyed observers zeroed in on this quote, supposedly from an “American official”:
At this point, with the Ukraine counteroffensive against Russia thwarted, the official said, "Zelensky has no plan, except to hang on. It's as if he's an orphan, a poor waif in his underwear and we have no real idea of what Zelensky and his crowd are thinking.
The thing is, no one who speaks English has ever said “he’s a poor waif in his underwear.” The only references to “waif” in the past hundred years referred to emaciated supermodels in the ‘90s.
But it just so happens that the phrase “poor waif in his underwear” is a direct translation to a common Russian saying. Hersh either got played by Russian intelligence or is willingly in cahoots with them.
Who wants to bet that another quote attributed to that official is also a direct translation of a common Russian saying? “… the official also downplayed US strategic gains as ‘neither strong like bull, nor smart like tractor.’”