Sasha Vakulina analyzes, with information from the Institute for the Study of War, the different layers of Russian defense in southern Ukraine. After crossing one of the rings, what will come next for the kyiv troops?
Trent Maul, Director of Analysis at the United States Defense Intelligence Agency, stated that there is a “realistic possibility” that Ukrainian forces will completely breach the Russian defense in southern Ukraine by the end of 2023.
Maul also claimed that Ukrainian forces have advanced into the “second” Russian defensive layer.
The Institute of War Studies (ISW) notes that it probably refers to recent advances by Ukrainian light infantry beyond the series of Russian defensive positions extending northwest of Verbove to north of Solodka Balka (20 km south of Orikhiv) in the western region of Zaporizhzhia.
His assessment of the so-called second defensive layer is consistent with previous statements by Ukrainian officials suggesting that Ukrainian forces have already advanced through the densest minefields.
But what happens to the next, the third layer? This is where there is less consistency. The ISW claims that, according to Ukrainian sources, the Russian “third” defensive layer in southern Ukraine is mainly composed of command posts, communication points and warehouses, and acts mainly as a support line for Russian defensive positions further to the south. north.
However, the Director of Analysis of the United States Defense Intelligence Agency claims that the majority of Russian reinforcements are deployed in the Russian “third” defensive layer.
The ISW notes that Russian defenses are not uniform across the entire front in southern Ukraine. The subsequent series of Russian defensive positions may be weaker, less mined, and less occupied than the defensive layer that Ukrainian forces have crossed, but they still represent significant challenges to Ukrainian forces and in some sections may be heavily defended.
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