The Ukrainian army claims to have broken through the Russian defense line in the region of Donetsk and Zaporizhia

Ukrainian soldiers EPA-EFE/c

Ukrainian forces on the southern front of Zaporozhye broke through the Russian lines in the village of Verbove, General Oleksandr Tarnavsky, commander of the Ukrainian forces in the regions of Donetsk and Zaporozhye, said in an interview with CNN.

He said that over the past week, Ukrainian forces and their armored vehicles have broken through Russia's main defense line on the southern front near Verbovo and are operating from the other side.

Photo: EPA-EFE / STR

This is a modest but crucial gain for Kiev, which is trying to make a major breakthrough in its slow counteroffensive, writes "Washington Post".

Verbove, a village located less than 20 kilometers southeast of Robotin, liberated on August 28, is on the way to the strategic center of Tokmak. General Tarnavski welcomed Verbov's success, but he also emphasized that the real breakthrough on the southern front will be the liberation of Tokmak, which according to him is the "minimum goal" of the Ukrainian counteroffensive.

"Challenger" tank, donated by Britain to the Ukrainian army / photo: Ukrainian Ministry of Defense

Admitting that the pace of the counteroffensive was slower than expected, the commander of Ukrainian forces in the Donetsk and Zaporizhia fronts, General Tarnavskyi, reiterated that it was unlikely to be "like in the movies of the Second World War" and that it was crucial that Ukraine "does not lose this initiative' built on previous successes.

The ultimate goal of the counteroffensive remains the demolition of the Russian "land bridge" to Crimea and, in the long term, the liberation of all currently occupied territories, the Ukrainian general said.

The fighting was varied and intense, Tarnavskiy said, and Ukrainian forces were hampered by the so-called "Surovikin Line," a layered defense built under the command of Russian General Sergei Surovokin that includes minefields as well as small groups of well-distributed Russian troops.

Although many expected the counteroffensive to take place primarily during the summer before the cold weather arrived, General Tarnavski did not expect the upcoming rainy season and the ensuing winter "to greatly affect the counteroffensive."

, Ukraine/ Photo Genya SAVILOV / AFP / Profimedia

- The West's skepticism regarding the final success of the counteroffensive is understandable - said Tarnavskiy and emphasized that the Ukrainian offensive tactics must be adapted to the conditions on the ground, especially since the Russian forces have learned from some of their previous mistakes.

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Despite this, the commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian forces on the southern front, Tarnavsky, is optimistic about the success of the counteroffensive and believes that there will be a "big breakthrough" of the Ukrainian army

- I think that will happen after (the release of) Tokmak - he said.

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