Ukrainian generals claim they’ve breached Russia’s first line of defence in the south as Kyiv counter-offensive appears to make breakthrough

Ukrainian generals claim they’ve breached Russia’s first line of defence in the south as Kyiv counter-offensive appears to make breakthrough

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Ukrainian generals claim they have breached Russia’s first line of defence in the south as Kyiv’s counter-offensive appears to make a breakthrough.

Yuriy Sak, an adviser to Ukraine’s defence minister, confirmed the breach today, saying, ‘little by little, I think we’re gaining momentum,’ the BBC reported.

General Oleksandr Tarnavskiy, leading the southern counteroffensive, echoed the claims, alleging that Kyiv’s army has made an important breakthrough by breaching Russian lines near Zaporizhzhia.

‘We are now between the first and second defensive lines,’ Tarnavskiy – who led Ukrainian troops to liberate the southern city of Kherson – told The Guardian newspaper this weekend.

It comes as Russian drones targeted Ukraine’s southern Odesa region in the early hours of Sunday, with Moscow hitting a Danube port on the border with NATO member Romania in an attack condemned by Bucharest. 

Ukrainian generals claim they have breached Russia's first line of defence in the south as Kyiv's counter-offensive appears to make a breakthrough. Pictured: A Ukrainian soldier fires a mortar towards the Russian positions near Bakhmut, Donetsk region on Saturday

Ukrainian generals claim they have breached Russia’s first line of defence in the south as Kyiv’s counter-offensive appears to make a breakthrough. Pictured: A Ukrainian soldier fires a mortar towards the Russian positions near Bakhmut, Donetsk region on Saturday

An adviser to Ukraine's defence minister, confirmed the breach today, saying, 'little by little, I think we're gaining momentum'. Pictured: Russian soldiers are seen on a tank in Volnovakha district in the pro-Russian separatists-controlled Donetsk last year

An adviser to Ukraine’s defence minister, confirmed the breach today, saying, ‘little by little, I think we’re gaining momentum’. Pictured: Russian soldiers are seen on a tank in Volnovakha district in the pro-Russian separatists-controlled Donetsk last year

The general leading the southern counteroffensive echoed the claims, alleging that Kyiv's army has made an important breakthrough by breaching Russian lines near Zaporizhzhia Pictured: Ukrainian soldiers fire a mortar on the front line near Kreminna last month

The general leading the southern counteroffensive echoed the claims, alleging that Kyiv’s army has made an important breakthrough by breaching Russian lines near Zaporizhzhia Pictured: Ukrainian soldiers fire a mortar on the front line near Kreminna last month

On Wednesday, Kyiv said it had recaptured the village of Robotyne, calling it a strategic victory that would pave the way for its forces to push deeper into Russian positions towards Moscow-annexed Crimea.

Heavily mined territory had slowed Ukrainian troops, saying that sappers had cleaned a route by foot and at night.

Tarnavskiy has said that Kyiv’s forces are now back on vehicles and that Russia has redeployed troops to the area, according to the newspaper.

‘But sooner or later, the Russians will run out of all the best soldiers,’ Tarnavskiy said. ‘Everything is ahead of us.’

He admitted difficult losses for Kyiv, saying that ‘we are losing the strongest and best.’

But on Sunday fighting was reported east of Robotyne, near the larger village of Verbove.

BBC analysts allege troops face a mass of ‘overlapping, complex Russian defensive lines, complete with minefields, tank traps and trenches’ – some of which seemingly converge at Verbove.

Small Ukrainian troops are understood to be clearing a way through the hazards in preparation for a larger assault.

Mr Sak told the broadcaster: ‘When these openings appear, of course, it makes it easier for our forces to advance.’

Russia has not announced another mobilisation, seen as an unpopular measure, but has led an active campaign to attract more men into the military as its Ukraine offensive drives on into a 19th month.

Robotyne is six miles south of the frontline town of Orikhiv in the Zaporizhzhia region on an important road towards Tokmak, a Russian-occupied road and rail hub

Robotyne is six miles south of the frontline town of Orikhiv in the Zaporizhzhia region on an important road towards Tokmak, a Russian-occupied road and rail hub 

Fighting has been reported east of Robotyne, near the larger village of Verbove, it was reported on Sunday. Pictured: Ukrainian military members stand near missile that stuck from the road after Russian shelling in Kramatorsk on Saturday

Fighting has been reported east of Robotyne, near the larger village of Verbove, it was reported on Sunday. Pictured: Ukrainian military members stand near missile that stuck from the road after Russian shelling in Kramatorsk on Saturday

Pictured: A pair of Ukrainian soldiers are seen hunkered down in a foxhole while picking off advancing Russian troops

Pictured: A pair of Ukrainian soldiers are seen hunkered down in a foxhole while picking off advancing Russian troops

Ukraine's forces have pushed deeper into Russian defensive lines in the country's south, Kyiv said today, as footage emerged of intense close-quarters combat between the country's armed forces and the invading infantrymen (pictured)

Ukraine’s forces have pushed deeper into Russian defensive lines in the country’s south, Kyiv said today, as footage emerged of intense close-quarters combat between the country’s armed forces and the invading infantrymen (pictured)

Plumes of smoke erupt as Ukrainian unit breach mine defences as part of a southern counteroffensive, near Hulyaipole, in Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine, in this screen grab obtained from a handout video released on August 27, 2023

Plumes of smoke erupt as Ukrainian unit breach mine defences as part of a southern counteroffensive, near Hulyaipole, in Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine, in this screen grab obtained from a handout video released on August 27, 2023

Ex-president and Security Council chairman Dmitry Medvedev said Sunday that Moscow had recruited 230,000 people into the army since the start of the year.

‘According to data from the ministry of defence, 280,000 people have joined the Russian army on contracts from January 1,’ Medvedev said, according to the TASS news agency.

‘Part of them were in the reserves, part of them volunteers and other categories,’ he added, during a visit to the Far Eastern Russian island of Sakhalin.

In early August, Medvedev said the army had recruited around 230,000 people since the start of the year.

In September last year, the Kremlin made a U-turn on promises not to announce a military draft, announcing a partial call-up to make up for losses on the Ukrainian front that led to the recruitment of 300,000 men.

But the announcement also triggered another wave of emigration from Russia, with hundreds of thousands believed to have fled abroad. 

Moscow also targeted Ukraine’s Danube port early Sunday morning in a drone attack that has been branded ‘brutal’ by neighbouring nations.

Russian drones targeted Ukraine's southern Odesa region in the early hours of Sunday, with Moscow hitting a Danube port on the border with NATO member Romania in an attack condemned by Bucharest. Pictured: A firefighter works at a site which was hit during Russia's drone attacks on Sunday

Russian drones targeted Ukraine’s southern Odesa region in the early hours of Sunday, with Moscow hitting a Danube port on the border with NATO member Romania in an attack condemned by Bucharest. Pictured: A firefighter works at a site which was hit during Russia’s drone attacks on Sunday

Ukraine said Russia had hit the Odesa region with a barrage of Iranian-made Shahed drones, saying it downed 22 of them. But Kyiv also said that some of the drones hit the Danube area, saying that at least two people were wounded in attacks on 'civilian industrial' infrastructure. Pictured: Ukrainian firefighters put out burning grass amid the attack on Sunday

Ukraine said Russia had hit the Odesa region with a barrage of Iranian-made Shahed drones, saying it downed 22 of them. But Kyiv also said that some of the drones hit the Danube area, saying that at least two people were wounded in attacks on ‘civilian industrial’ infrastructure. Pictured: Ukrainian firefighters put out burning grass amid the attack on Sunday

Ukraine's forces have pushed deeper into Russian defensive lines in the country's south, Kyiv said today, as it presses on with its counteroffensive. Pictured: Ukrainian soldiers of the Separate Assault Battalion 'Skala' enter the embattled village of Robotyne, August 25

Ukraine’s forces have pushed deeper into Russian defensive lines in the country’s south, Kyiv said today, as it presses on with its counteroffensive. Pictured: Ukrainian soldiers of the Separate Assault Battalion ‘Skala’ enter the embattled village of Robotyne, August 25

Drones have hit Ukrainian port infrastructure on the Black Sea and on the Danube for weeks, since exiting a key deal that allowed the safe passage of ships carrying grain. 

Ukraine said Russia had hit the Odesa region with a barrage of Iranian-made Shahed drones, saying it downed 22 of them.

But Kyiv also said that some of the drones hit the Danube area, saying that at least two people were wounded in attacks on ‘civilian industrial’ infrastructure.

The attack came on the eve of a summit in Russia between Vladimir Putin and Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who hopes to revive the grain deal.

The Russian army said it had targeted ‘fuel storage’ facilities in the Ukrainian port of Reni, which lies on the Danube river that separates Ukraine from Romania.

Moscow has targeted the Danube ports of Reni and Ismail – both near Romania and across the war-torn country from fighting hotspots – several times over the last few weeks.

Reni – which also lies close to Moldova – is a sea and river port and important transport hub.

The Russian army said it had targeted 'fuel storage' facilities in the Ukrainian port of Reni, which lies on the Danube river that separates Ukraine from Romania. Pictured: Ukrainian soldiers rest in a trench on the front line in the outskirts of Lyman, Ukraine last month

The Russian army said it had targeted ‘fuel storage’ facilities in the Ukrainian port of Reni, which lies on the Danube river that separates Ukraine from Romania. Pictured: Ukrainian soldiers rest in a trench on the front line in the outskirts of Lyman, Ukraine last month

A Ukrainian serviceman walks near a destroyed Ukrainian tank, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, near the village of Robotyne, Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine August 25, 2023

A Ukrainian serviceman walks near a destroyed Ukrainian tank, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, near the village of Robotyne, Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine August 25, 2023

Bucharest’s defence ministry said the attacks were ‘unjustified and in deep contradiction with the rules of international humanitarian law’.

It also stressed that the Moscow drone attacks did not ‘generate any direct military threat to the national territory or territorial waters of Romania.’

Neighbouring Moldova called the attack ‘brutal.’

‘Russia must be held accountable for every piece of infrastructure destroyed,’ Chisinau’s pro-EU President Maia Sandu said on social media.

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