Ukrainian forces have advanced enough in the south to attack Russia's second line of fortifications, Report informs referring to the US Institute for the Study of War (ISW).
Ukrainian forces have achieved new tactically significant successes in the west of the Zaporizhzhia region.
Analysts are citing media reports that Ukrainian forces are now likely advancing through the most difficult section of Russian defensive positions.
"Geolocated footage published on August 25 indicates that Ukrainian forces advanced 1.5km southward northeast of Novoprokopivka (13km south of Orikhiv). US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley stated on August 25 that Ukrainian forces are currently attacking through the main set of Russian defensive preparations along the axis of Ukrainian advance."
"Reuters reported on August 26 that a Ukrainian commander fighting in southern Ukraine stated that Ukrainian forces believe they have broken through the most difficult line of Russian defenses in the area and will now be able to advance more quickly," reads the report.
"Ukrainian forces now appear within striking distance of the next series of prepared Russian defensive positions, which may be weaker than the previous set of Russian defenses but still pose a significant challenge. The series of defensive positions that Ukrainian forces are currently advancing through were comprised of dense layers of minefields and fortifications to which Russian forces committed considerable manpower, materiel, and effort to hold. The series of Russian defensive positions now ahead of Ukrainian forces likely consists of a relatively more contiguous array of anti-tank ditches; dragon’s teeth anti-tank obstacles; and additional minefields - with Russian fighting positions behind these obstacles - much like the first Russian line of defense. However, the extent of the minefields in the area of this series of prepared defensive positions is unclear, although they may be less heavily mined to give Russian forces operating north of these positions the ability to retreat. ISW additionally recently assessed that this series of prepared defensive positions may be less heavily defended than the positions Ukrainian forces already penetrated to the north, although this remains unclear."
"Each of these Russian “lines” are layered defensive positions with their own forward and rear area positions, and it is important to differentiate between the rear areas of individual Russian defensive positions and of Russian defenses in southern Ukraine as a whole. Russian defensive “lines” are additionally notional in the sense that Russian prepared positions are not uniform across the front in southern Ukraine, and are not fully manned. There are additional series of prepared Russian defensive positions further south of the current Ukrainian advance, although Russian forces will only be able to fully leverage these positions if they have the available personnel and materiel to incorporate them into cohesive defensive operations."