Russia’s second defensive line achieves a major breakthrough

Title: Ukraine’s Counteroffensive Progresses: Forces Advance Further into Zaporizhzhia Oblast

Introduction

Ukraine’s counteroffensive near the small town of Verbove in Zaporizhzhia Oblast is progressing as Ukrainian forces gradually gain ground against Russian defenses. Recent assessments by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) and a U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) official suggest that Ukrainian troops have crossed the first line of defense and are nearing the second line. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has emphasized the significance of Ukraine’s progress and the importance of international support. However, challenges such as limited ammunition and worsening weather conditions may hinder further advancements. This article will explore the recent developments in Ukraine’s counteroffensive and the ongoing support provided by the international community.

Ukraine’s Progress and Optimistic Assessments

Geolocated footage posted on September 7 showed that Ukrainian forces have expanded their salient northwest of Verbove, moving closer to their objective. The ISW assessment confirms this progress, indicating that Ukrainian troops are pushing north of the settlement. Additionally, the DIA official acknowledges Ukraine’s breakthrough on the second defensive line near Robotyne and describes it as considerable.

The West has criticized Ukraine’s counteroffensive progress, but the optimistic assessments from ISW and the DIA offer hope. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg commended Ukraine’s gradual gains, highlighting the importance of continued support. He emphasized that breaching Russian defensive lines demonstrates the effectiveness of international assistance. Despite initial miscalculations regarding Russia’s defenses, the DIA official believes Ukraine has a realistic possibility of breaking the remaining lines by the end of the year.

Challenges and Monitoring Factors

The DIA acknowledges the challenges that Ukraine’s counteroffensive may face. Limited ammunition and worsening weather conditions, characterized by wetter autumns and thick mud, can adversely affect maneuverability. An analysis of Russia’s ability to provide artillery support and maintain leadership at the unit level is crucial in assessing Ukraine’s progress. The DIA will closely monitor ammunition stockpiles and weather patterns to determine Ukraine’s chances of success.

Potential for Future Offensive

While attention is currently focused on Ukraine’s counteroffensive this year, the DIA is already considering the potential for a future offensive. If Ukraine can widen the salient around Robotyne, hold its positions, and sustain the ammunition flow, it will be well-positioned for a fresh push in 2024. The DIA expresses moderate confidence in Ukraine’s chances of success, estimating a 40-50% probability of achieving its objectives in the long run.

International Support and Aid to Ukraine

The United States has pledged its support to Ukraine through various aid packages. The most recent package, worth up to $600 million, includes equipment to sustain and integrate Ukraine’s air defense systems, additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), electronic warfare and counter-electronic warfare equipment, and support for training, maintenance, and sustainment activities. The package also addresses obstacle clearing, mine clearing, and demolition munitions.

Additionally, the United Kingdom has promised to provide depleted uranium (DU) rounds for Ukraine’s tanks, particularly the Challenger 2 tanks it donated. DU, a by-product of nuclear reactor fuel production, is an incredibly dense metal that enhances the armor-piercing capabilities of munitions. The Russian Defense Ministry has not denied Ukraine’s advancements but has claimed to repel attacks near Verbove and Robotyne.

The Role of Poland in Javelin Anti-Tank Weapons Production

Poland’s state-run defense group PGZ has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Javelin Joint Venture (JJV) to jointly produce Javelin anti-tank weapons. This partnership with U.S. industry players aims to explore opportunities for co-production and evaluate the possibility of establishing a final assembly plant in Poland. The JJV has also proposed producing Javelin weapon components at PGZ’s subsidiary Mesko.

Drone Attack near Russia’s Military Headquarters

In a separate incident, a drone attack occurred near Russia’s military headquarters in Rostov-on-Don, causing an explosion. Social media videos confirmed the attack, and Russian air defenses intercepted two drones over the city. One person was injured, and several cars were damaged. Authorities implemented emergency measures and offered alternative temporary accommodation to residents affected by the incident.

Conclusion

Ukraine’s counteroffensive in Zaporizhzhia Oblast is making significant progress as Ukrainian forces continue to advance toward Verbove. Assessments from the ISW and a DIA official have provided a more optimistic outlook, highlighting Ukraine’s successes and the possibility of breaking through Russian defenses. Despite challenges posed by limited ammunition and worsening weather conditions, Ukraine’s chances for success remain promising. The international community, led by the United States and supported by the UK, continues to provide aid and support to Ukraine. Poland’s collaboration with the Javelin Joint Venture offers prospects for localized production of anti-tank weapons. As Ukraine moves forward, attention is already shifting to the potential for a future offensive to achieve its objectives.