Ukraine crowns a week of military successes with a 'significant' tactical breach on the southern front, think tank says

  • Ukraine likely made "a significant tactical breach" on the southern front, a new report says.

  • The report was published Saturday by the US think tank Institute for the Study of War.

  • The advance comes after a successful week for Ukrainian forces.

Ukraine has likely made "a significant tactical breach" along Russia's multilayered defense on the southern front line,  beyond the village of Robotyne, a Saturday report from the US think tank Institute for the Study of War said.

Ukrainian forces have been widening a gap in the front line for several weeks, the report noted, but said Ukrainian heavy armor and vehicles "have yet to complete a breakthrough of this defensive layer."

Ukrainian officials have indicated that Russian defensive positions in this region may be weaker than the Russian defensive layer that Ukrainian forces broke through to the north, said the ISW.

Ukraine announced it had seized back control of the village of Robotyne in early September.

This recent success comes after a week of notable military actions by Ukraine.

On Thursday, a video came out that appeared to show Ukrainian soldiers entering and liberating the village of Andriivka, near Bakhmut.

"Capturing and holding Andriivka — is our path to a breakthrough on the right flank of Bakhmut and the key to the success of the entire further offensive," said Ukraine's Third Assault Brigade, which took part in the push, Reuters reported.

Russia denied Ukraine's advances, saying Ukraine was "unsuccessfully trying to oust Russian troops from the population centers of Klishchiivka and Andriivka," Al Jazeera reported.

ISW's Saturday report, however, said that geolocated footage posted on September 15 confirms that Ukrainian forces have advanced in the Bakhmut area, not only around Adriivka but also the nearby villages of Rozdolivka and Klishchiivka.

Devastating strikes by Ukraine on land and sea

A video captures the moment an S-400 explodes in Crimea.
A video captures the moment an S-400 explodes in Crimea.Screengrab/Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine

An attack in Crimea on Thursday destroyed Russia's advanced S-400 "Triumf" air-defense system — estimated to be worth over $500 million — using modified Neptune naval cruise missiles.

ISW said this may signal that Russia's air defenses in Crimea have "systemic tactical failures" and that Russian forces were "unprepared to intercept missiles with the system or were unable to do so." It was the second strike in the past few weeks to obliterate an S-400 in Crimea.

On Friday, Ukraine struck and damaged a Russian missile ship off the coast of Crimea. Ukrainian forces told Reuters and Ukrainian media that an experimental sea drone called Sea Baby was used as part of this attack.

Russia's defense ministry denied any damage and said the attack was repelled and the drone was destroyed, Reuters added.

Ukraine also claimed that its marine drones had struck at least one of two Russian corvettes in the Black Sea, the newspaper Ukrainska Pravda reported, per ISW.

BlackSky imagery captured the damage caused by a Ukranian cruise missile attack on the Sevastopol Shipyard dry docks in Russia occupied Crimea on September 13, 2023.
BlackSky imagery captured the damage caused by a Ukrainian cruise missile attack on the Sevastopol Shipyard dry docks in Russia-occupied Crimea on September 13.Courtesy of BlackSky

Earlier in the week, a major Ukrainian strike, using missiles and marine drones, on a Crimean naval base likely dealt a serious blow to the operation of Putin's Black Sea fleet, according to UK intelligence.

Ukrainian forces launched an attack on Wednesday on Russia's Black Sea Fleet base at Sevastopol, striking a submarine and a landing ship, per the UK's Ministry of Defence.

In its latest intelligence update published on Friday, the UK MoD said the two vessels — identified as the landing ship Minsk and the Kilo 636.3 class submarine Rostov-on-Don — were hit while undergoing repairs in dry docks at the Sevmorzadov shipyard.

The attack also put the dry docks vital for maintaining the Black Sea fleet out of action for the foreseeable future.

"The complex task of removing the wreckage from the dry docks will also place the facility out of use for many months," said the UK MoD.

On Saturday, a NATO admiral told the military alliance that "history books will show Ukraine has transformed modern warfare. And they are moving forward every day. Every success is one step closer to victory."



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