Putin faces moment of truth as Ukraine's army makes 'significant' breakthrough in south

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Fierce battles continue to rage along the southern front, as Kyiv seeks to recapture Kherson city, which fell to the Russians early in the war. Putin’s army is reported to be putting up stiff resistance, as they desperately try to repel the Ukrainian onslaught. Due to the specific features of the terrain, most of the battles are being fought by infantry units without the support of mechanised units.

Despite the resistance by Russian paratroopers, Ukraine has succeeded in maintaining its forward momentum, as it tries to build on its early gains.

Reports circulating on Telegram channels suggest that Ukraine’s army has breached the second layer of Russian defences in Mykolaiv province, which borders the Kherson region.

This creates the opportunity for Ukraine’s army to cut off Russian units located further to the north and to wipe them out.

NLwartracker, a social media user and military analyst, wrote: “News was published on TG channels that Shmidtove was liberated by Ukrainian forces.

“This is very significant if true. It’s the centre of the 2nd line of Russian defences in this area.

“This means strongholds Tsentral’ne & Bohorodytske can now be isolated.”

He added: “Bypassing these strongholds and moving forward towards Znamianka will cut off Russian forces in the north.

“And create a pocket where two strongholds are concentrated.

“Ukraine is attacking Blahodatne to pin VDV (paratroopers) forces from Snihurivka here so they cant move south to re-enforce this area.”

Shmidtove is a small village in Mykolaiv province within shouting distance of Kherson. It is located just 19 miles from the port city.

The specifics of the terrain have necessitated infantry only battles, meaning progress is expected to be slow and bloody.

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“But they are still fighting hard and putting up a stiff resistance. They appear to be better led than the troops in the first months.

“They are either learning or the best fighters have been promoted into senior positions.”

It comes amid reports that Russia is buying millions of rockets and artillery shells from North Korea.

A US official said it indicated the extent to which Russian ammunition stocks had been depleted over the course of the war.

He added: “The Russian military continues to suffer from severe supply shortages in Ukraine, due in part to export controls and sanctions.”

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