Day 555: U.S. sees notable progress by Ukrainian forces in south in past 72 hours

U.S. sees notable progress by Ukrainian forces in the south in the past 72 hours. A drone strikes a factory in Russia as more drones carry out assaults on Russian territory. U.S. unveils more military assistance to Ukraine.

U.S. sees notable progress by Ukrainian forces in south in past 72 hours

The United States has seen notable progress by Ukrainian forces in the south near the Zaporizhzhia area in the last 72 hours, White House spokesperson John Kirby told reporters on Friday.

Ukrainian forces have penetrated the main Russian defensive line in their country’s southeast, The Wall Street Journal said on Thursday, August 31. According to the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Ukrainian troops continue to advance on the Melitopol axis. They continue to advance southeast of Robotyne toward Novoprokopivka and Ocheretuvate, and have had success near Verbove.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said, quoting a senior Ukrainian military official, that Ukrainian troops had reached parity in counterbattery capabilities with Russian forces, forcing the Russians to move their artillery further from the frontline in some areas. Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations near Bakhmut in Donetsk Oblast and in western Zaporizhzhia Oblast on August 31 and reportedly advanced in both sectors of the front, ISW said. 

Ukraine’s continuous efforts over the past week and a half have put Russian forces under pressure on the southern front lines, Estonia’s intelligence chief, Colonel Margo Grosberg told reporters Friday.

Drone strikes factory in Russia as more drones carry out assaults on Russian territory

On September 1, in Lyubertsy, outside Moscow, a drone struck and set on fire the Tomilinsky electronics factory, Ukrainska Pravda said, quoting a source in Ukraine’s Defense Ministry.

The Tomilinsky electronics factory, which was sanctioned by Ukraine, produces microchips for Russian missiles.

The drone attack on an airbase in the Russian city of Pskov on Tuesday was launched from inside Russia, head of the Main Intelligence Department of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, Major General Kyrylo Budanov told The War Zone on Thursday. Budanov said two IL-76 cargo planes were destroyed and two damaged. 

The top of the aircraft is where the cargo jets’ fuel tanks and a critical section of the wing spar are located. Those sections of the aircraft were specifically targeted by the drones.

“We are working from the territory of Russia,” Budanov said, though he would not specify whether the attack was carried out by Ukrainian operatives or Russian partisans. He also declined to say what kind of drones were used or how many.

On September 1, Moscow’s Vnukovo, Domodedovo, Sheremetyevo, and Zhukovsky airports have been forced to cancel 23 and delay 38 flights as a result of the attacks, the Telegram channel Mash said.

U.S. unveils more military assistance to Ukraine

Ukraine is slated to receive the first ten of 31 promised Abrams U.S. tanks in mid-September, Politico said, quoting a U.S. Defense Department official and another person familiar with the discussions.

Around 200 Ukrainians have practiced on trainer tanks at U.S. Army training areas in Germany, said spokesperson Col. Martin O’Donnell. The soldiers are working to ensure they stay proficient on the tanks at Grafenwoehr Army base in Germany until the tanks are ready for the battlefield, O’Donnell said.

The U.S. Department of Defense has ordered AMRAAM medium-range air-to-air missiles for Ukraine from Raytheon Missiles and Defense company. The contract is worth USD 192 million and provides for Raytheon purchasing missiles from various sources. Quantity and delivery date were not fixed. Work is expected to be completed by November 29, 2024.   

AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) can strike targets beyond-visual range. AMRAAMs, informally called “slammer”, are used for Norwegian NASAMS air defense systems that are in service with the Ukrainian Armed Forces.