Skeptical US intelligence report: Can Ukraine breach Russia’s triple line of defences?

Skeptical US intelligence report: Can Ukraine breach Russia's triple line of defences?

Recent advances by Ukrainian forces north of Robotyne in the Zaporizhia region are apparently from tactical importance to break through the triple Russian line of defense in the first step. This is what the renowned think tank “Institute for the Study of War” (ISW) writes in its regular update on Friday.

According to Ukrainian Colonel Petro Chernyk, the first exists Russian line of defense in southern Ukraine from minefields, the second from artillery and personnel, and on the third line would be reserve units and positions. “The recent Ukrainian incursions (…) could allow the Ukrainian armed forces to to operate in the areas behind the dense minefields”write the analysts of the ISW.

US intelligence services: Ukraine will not achieve main objective of counteroffensive

But despite the Ukrainian advances, the American secret service is according to a report by the “Washington Post” do not assume that the Ukrainians with their counter-offensive this year still have the southeastern city of Melitopol and thus achieve one of their main goals. According to several US officials who have access to the confidential intelligence documents, they are Russian Defense lines too difficult for Ukrainian forces to break through.

“The road to Melitopol is extremely difficult, and even recapturing nearby cities like Tokmak will prove difficult.”, Rob Lee, a military analyst with the Foreign Policy Research Institute, told the Washington Post. It’s not just a question of whether Ukraine can breach one or two of Russia’s defense lines, but whether it has enough forces for all three, Lee said.

The recapture of Melitopol is considered so crucial for Ukraine, because control of the city would allow it to seal off Crimea from occupied territories east of the peninsula. With this, the Ukraine could block important supply routes for the Russians.

“No significant operational Russian reserves”

But in the US, Ukrainian successes are also recognized: That’s what Ukraine did recentlyto weaken the Russian attackers, as US General and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley recently admitted. The assessment is consistent with the most recent analyzes by the ISW, according to which Ukraine was apparently able to significantly weaken Russian forces in the western part of Zaporizhia Oblast. As a result, according to the ISW, the Russians recently moved parts of the 7th Guards Airborne Division from Kherson Oblast to the Robotyne area in Zaporizhia.

In addition, the ISW continues to assume that the Russian armed forces “have no significant operational reserves”. “The lack of Russian operational reserves means that Russian forces must reinforce certain areas of the front at the expense of others, which should weaken Russian defenses overall and give Ukrainian forces opportunities to exploit”says the report.


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