31 soldiers breached Russian defences in key settlement in southern Ukraine, FM told French envoys

30.08.2023, 13:24
31 soldiers breached Russian defences in key settlement in southern Ukraine, FM told French envoys - Photo
Photo: General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine

In an address to a conference of French ambassadors in Paris on Tuesday, Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba spoke of how the Ukrainian military had managed to liberate the village of Robotyne in the Zaporizhzhia region.

Robotyne, located in a strategically important area in southern Ukraine, was recaptured last week, opening the way for the Ukrainian forces to Melitopol and the administrative border of Russian-occupied Crimea.

"A few days ago, we broke through the Russian defences in one of the most difficult sections of the frontline and liberated the strategically important settlement of Robotyne," My Kuleba said.

For several months, a Ukrainian unit had been conducting continuous assaults in the area but "due to exhaustion and losses, at some point it lost the ability to continue the offensive."

Then the unit's leadership changed, the Ukrainian minister continued. The new commander asked to gather "motivated soldiers ready to perform combat missions".

A group of 31 soldiers was formed, a third of whom had had no combat experience but "had the knowledge and will to win."

In 18 hours, the group crawled "literally on their stomachs" through kilometres of minefields, where the Russians had placed six mines per square metre, and reached a position of the Russian forces, Mr Kuleba told French envoys.

The unit drove the Russians out and held the position for two days until reinforcements arrived and later, walked another ten kilometres with backpacks weighing 35 to 40 kilograms through minefields.

"They only had time to catch their breath briefly and immediately stormed the fortified Russian positions, drove the enemy out and held out until the main forces arrived," the Ukrainian minister was quoted as saying.

In total, the unit carried out six assaults and two reconnaissance missions in 40 days.

Overall, Ukraine has recaptured more than 240 square kilometres in southern and eastern regions since it started a counteroffensive in June.

The advance has been slowed down as Russia mined territory and managed to set up several defence lines.

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