Day 548: Ukrainian troops break through first line of Russian defenses

Ukrainian troops break through the first line of Russian defenses. Greece ends a deal with Russia for air defenses, and could send the systems to Ukraine.  

Ukrainian troops break through first line of Russian defenses

Ukrainian troops have gone through the first Russian defensive line, U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, said in an interview with Jordan’s Al-Mamlaka TV channel. The offensive has been going on for about eight weeks, he said. It’s bloody and slow, he added, but there is constant progress. Ukraine’s defense forces advance by 400-500 meters per day, sometimes by one kilometer per day.

Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi has told U.S. officials his forces are on the cusp of a breakthrough, The Wall Street Journal said. U.S. and Ukrainian officials have been engaged in an intense behind-the-scenes debate for weeks over the strategy and tactics. American military officials have been urging the Ukrainians to return to the combined arms training they received at allied bases in Europe by concentrating their forces to try to bust through Russia defenses and push to the Sea of Azov.  

“You don’t understand the nature of this conflict,” Zaluzhnyi responded in one interaction with the Americans, a U.S. official recounted. “This is not counterinsurgency. This is Kursk,” the commander added, referring to the major World War II battle between Germany and the Soviet Union.

According to the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Ukrainian troops continue to advance in the Melitopol direction. There was success in two areas: towards Novodanylivka – Novoprokopivka, and towards Mala Tokmachka – Ocheretovate. Ukrainian troops are reinforcing positions they have previously captured. On the Bakhmut axis, Ukraine’s defense forces continue to conduct offensive operations to the south of Bakhmut. They are reinforcing positions they have previously captured, the message reads.

Greece ends deal with Russia for air defenses, could send them to Ukraine, news reports say  

The Greek government has decided to end the deal with Russia for servicing the Tor-M1 and Osa-AKM air defense missile systems in service with the Greek army, Greek news web site said, citing a classified document that leaked through the Parliament.

Athens will no longer buy spare parts and components for Tor-M1 and Osa-AKM air defense systems.

The air defenses could soon be decommissioned after the government decided to end the deal. Available spare parts will allow to operate the systems for a few more months.

The Greek army and Air Force have a total of 21 self-propelled Tor-M1 systems and 38 self-propelled Osa-AKM systems that have a maximum firing range of 10-12 km.

The contract for maintaining the systems is worth EUR 102 million. The air defense systems will be “likely” sent to Ukraine via third countries, the article reads. The decision is “purely political”, it adds.

Earlier this week, President Volodymyr Zelenskyi and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis signed a joint declaration in Athens in support of Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic integration.