Satellite images have revealed that Vladimir Putin’s strongholds on the Ukrainian border appear to be deserted as Russian casualties increase on the frontlines in Ukraine. Ukrainian forces continue their counteroffensive, which has resulted in high casualties on both sides since June.
The National Resistance Center of Ukraine has released satellite imagery from Kursk Oblast, Russia, showing abandoned defensive positions. The center reported that the strongholds, which were built at a cost of 10 billion Rubles, have been left empty as Russian soldiers are redirected to fight in Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk. A lack of border defenses could potentially make the Russian homeland vulnerable to raids by dissident Russian groups, as witnessed earlier this year in the neighboring Russian region of Belgorod.
In recent developments, Ukrainian forces have seemingly broken through Russian defensive lines in Verbove, Zaporizhzhia Oblast. This town has been under attack as part of Kyiv’s efforts to expand their breach near the recaptured nearby settlement of Robotyne.
The Institute for the Study of War has assessed that Ukrainian forces have indeed broken through Russian field fortifications, although they caution that these may not be the last defenses in the area. It remains unclear how quickly Kyiv’s forces are advancing following the breakthrough.
Elsewhere in the country, there have been reports of significant losses suffered by Russian forces. The capture of Klishchiivka and Andriivka, villages located on higher ground near Bakhmut, is considered a crucial breakthrough on a front that has experienced intense fighting. Ukrainian sources have reported that the 72nd Motor Rifle Brigade, as well as the elite 31st and 83rd Air Assault Brigades, have been defeated and completely disabled. These brigades, when fully operational, would consist of 2,000 to 8,000 soldiers, and their loss considerably weakens Russia’s position on the eastern front.
The fighting on these lines has been described as brutal, with commanders allegedly sending inadequately equipped men to their deaths.