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Meat Grinder Tops 80,000 Casualties Against “Colossal Anti-Tank Mines and Enemy Forces”

Ukrainian casualties in Kleshcheyevka

 

Ukraine claims to have taken the village of Verbove on the Zaporizhia front and wants to keep fighting through winter, CNN reports, as Russia captured the village of Kleshcheyevka south of Bakhmut. The Washington Post reports that Ukraine has lost a large amount of equipment in its incremental advances, including German-made Marder armored vehicles and US-made Stryker armored personnel carriers.

Sputnik News claimed Russian troops destroyed a Leopard 2 tank manned by German Bundeswehr soldiers, killing them all, in what would be a major escalation if true. However, there has been no independent confirmation of this report, which pro-Russian journalist Edvard Chesnokov told Gateway Pundit was “probably a trash fake”.

Russia claimed to have hit two Ukrainian Leopard tanks in the Kupyansk area, according to spokesman Sergey Zybinsky.

On September 12, Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed that Ukraine had lost 71,500 men, 543 tanks and almost 18,000 armored vehicles of various types since June 4, claiming that the  Ukrainian counteroffensive produced no results.

Last week, Sept.  17-23, Ukraine lost 4,015 casualties, according to the Russian Ministry of Defense, and 4,700 the week of Sept. 9-16. That would put the total number of Ukrainian casualties at 80,215 since June 4.

The Russian Ministry of Defense released a video claiming to show the capture of the village of Kleshcheyevka south of Bakhmut, showing a large number of dead Ukrainian soldiers.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claims that Russia has lost 275,850 casualties, 4662 tanks, 8914 APCs, 6233 artillery units and 789 multiple launch rocket systems since the Feb. 24, 2022 invasion. On June 3, before the start of the Ukrainian counteroffensive, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense put Russian losses at 209,470 men, 3829 tanks, 7502 APCs, 3533 artillery units and 582 MLRS. That would mean Russia has lost 66,380 men, 833 tanks, 1412 APCs, 2700 artillery units and 207 MLRS since June 4.

Ukraine has redeployed more than 10,000 troops from other sections of the front to the Robotyne and Verbovoye area in what may mark a new attempt to push through to Tokmak in the south, TASS reports.  “Near Rabotino and Verbovoye, the Ukrainian army has redeployed reinforcements from the Vremevka and Vasilyevka sections of the Zaporozhye area. … They redeployed over 10,000 militants to the Orekhovo area in addition to those already there. It seems like the adversary is dispatching everyone capable of holding a weapon,” , Vladimir Rogov, leader of the We Are With Russia movement, told TASS.

The Washington Post reported that, “Ukrainian forces and their armored vehicles punched through Russia’s main defensive line,” while admitting that the advance has come at a high cost. “A lot of equipment was lost there,” the Washington Post quoted a local Ukrainian commander speaking on the condition of anonymity.

The commander told the Washington Post Ukrainian infantry passed the first line of Russian defences “two to three weeks ago,” but vehicles have only recently been able to move through. He said that “the front line has also moved further back behind the dragon’s teeth,” but this has taken place “more slowly.”

“You just have to understand that there is a saturation of antitank mines and a saturation of enemy forces, it’s just colossal,” the air assault forces commander said. “In the direction of Robotyne and Verbove, there’s a constant incoming traffic of assault troops.”

Last week, Ukraine had to withdraw its elite 82nd Airborne from the Robotyne Front ,“as a result of significant manpower losses …. in order to recover combat capability,” the Russian MoD claimed.

The NATO-aligned Institute for the Study of War reported today that “Ukrainian forces have broken through Russian field fortifications west of Verbove in western Zaporizhia Oblast. These fortifications are not the final defensive line in Russia’s defense in depth in western Zaporizhia, but rather a specific series of the best-prepared field fortifications arrayed as part of a near-contiguous belt about 1.7-3.5 km west of Verbove. Ukrainian forces have not overcome all of the prepared Russian defensive positions near Verbove, however, and Ukrainian forces’ rate of advance near their breakthrough remains unclear. Russian forces have reportedly established prepared fighting positions in almost every tree line that Ukrainian infantry are slowly and systematically fighting through.”

“Ukrainian troops overcame antitank obstacles including ditches and concrete blocks known as dragon’s teeth near the village of Verbove in the Zaporizhzhia region, allowing armored vehicles to press through,” an officer in Ukraine’s air-assault forces told the Wall Street Journal. “The Russians are hammering the area with artillery and launching counterattacks. Ukrainian units are taking heavy casualties.”

The Russian defense near Verbove is “particularly fierce,” the WSJ reported. “They are using phosphorus munitions that explode in the sky like fireworks then rain down on earth, burning whatever they land on. The Russians have used them to burn tree lines where Ukrainian troops captured trenches, forcing them to abandon the positions under artillery fire, the officer said. But the Ukrainians pressed forward. Their infantry stormed into enemy trenches and cleared them, holding them under artillery and tank fire and counterattacks by infantry, according to Ukrainian soldiers there and videos that they shared online.”

The WSJ also reported that Ukraine, “has lost many Western-donated armored vehicles, but their armor has protected troops inside, allowing them to continue fighting.”

“The advance has been hard and costly,” the Wall Street Journal writes, interviewing a female Private of the  47th Separate Mechanized Brigade, Pvt. Olena Ivanenko, who had “had only just returned to the front after spending three months recovering from a leg injury and was again out of action, this time for a few days” after a tank shell “smashed into (her) position, blowing her off her feet and bruising her ribs.”

Trench fight  takes place “at a distance of a few yards,” the WSJ reports, and trenches can be lost again in a few hours. “It’s like an accordion,” 41-year-old Ivanenko told the WSJ. “When we push forward, the enemy pushes back.”

Speaking to CNN, Ukrainian commanding General Oleksandr Tarnavsky said his troops were, “moving slower than anticipated,” but still hopes to keep fighting in winter and reach the Russian fortress city of Tokmak, conceding that “for the counteroffensive to be a success, Ukrainian forces need to at least reach the city of Tokmak,” CNN wrote.

“Tokmak is the minimum goal,” Tarnavsky said. “The overall objective is to get to our state borders,” which means conquering all the ethnically Russian areas.

Since Ukrainian forces have taken to moving in small groups on foot, fall rains would not put an end to the offensive, Tarnavsky said. “The weather can be a serious obstacle during advance, but considering how we move forward, mostly without vehicles, I don’t think (the weather] will heavily influence the counteroffensive,” Tarnavsky told CNN’ Friedrich Pleitgen.

“I believe yes (there will be a big breakthrough),” Tarnavsky told CNN. “I think it will happen after Tokmak. At the moment (the Russians) are relying on the depth of their defensive line there.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that, “We will do everything not to stop during difficult days in autumn with poor weather, and in winter.”

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