A top Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) spokesman on Wednesday claimed troops were continuing to advance following the recent liberation of the tactically important village Robotyne. Meanwhile, Kremlin-controlled information platforms reported that Ukrainian forces were stopped cold with heavy losses.

Ukraine Army General Staff chief spokesman Andriy Kovalev in comments widely reported in domestic media said Kyiv’s forces have “achieved success” in fighting around the village Novoprokopivka and were “digging in at the captured positions.”

Located in Ukraine’s southern Zaporizhzhia region on the operationally critical T0408 highway, Novorpokopivka is some three kilometers south of Robotyne, which the AFU declared liberated on Tuesday, following more than a week of heavy fighting.

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The T0408 highway is a major attack axis for the AFU’s ongoing southern offensive. The AFU has made slow progress against echeloned and heavily fortified Russian defenses, advancing in that sector roughly 12 kilometers in two months.

If confirmed, a 3-kilometer ground gain by AFU mechanized forces into Novoprokopivka in 24 hours would mark a dramatic increase in the pace of the AFU’s advance, and possibly, a Ukrainian breakthrough of the first of three Russian defensive belts in the Zaporizhzhia sector.

Kovalev in comments reported by the UNIAN news agency said combat around Novoprokopivka is currently static and dominated by artillery exchanges. Ukrainian gunners are working systematically to suppress Russian cannon and mortars.

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“Defense forces [the AFU] are making strikes with artillery on enemy targets, and conducting a counter-battery battle,” Kovalev said.

Kremlin-controlled information platforms indirectly seemed to confirm the presence of Ukrainian troops in Novoprokopivka with multiple reports on Wednesday of Russian artillery strikes on the village.

The pro-Russia Telegram channel Starshe Eddy, run by the Kremlin-loyal “war correspondent” Romain Kulikovskiy, said that AFU troops were attempting to move south from Robotyne and eastwards in the direction of the village Verbove. Fighting was close-in infantry hunkered down on opposite sides of trading fire across farm fields, Kulikovskiy wrote in a Wednesday situation update.

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The Kremlin-sponsored information platform RT on Wednesday reported Ukrainian troops were suffering substantial losses in western heavy weapons in unsuccessful attacks. RT’s coverage focused on video of AFU-operated German Leopard 2 tanks and Marder infantry fighting vehicles, as well as US-made Stryker armored personnel carriers allegedly damaged or destroyed in the attacks.

Video of a Marder stuck in a trench, and a mine-clearer Stryker with damaged wheels and chassis, both reportedly operated by the 82nd Brigade, were circulating on Ukrainian news and military social media platforms on Wednesday. Russian combat video made public on Tuesday evening showed a helicopter gunship, allegedly, destroying an 82nd Brigade Stryker with a long-range guided missile.

Russian military media identified the AFU’s 82nd Air Assault Brigade as the unit attacking and, according to the Russian reports, suffering substantial losses to artillery, anti-tank missiles and land mines. The American magazine Forbes reported that the 82nd Brigade was committed to battle on Aug. 15.

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Joint Forces South spokeswoman Hanna Maliar in subsequent comments blamed Forbes for Russian air strikes against the 82nd Brigade, claiming the report gave away the Ukrainian unit’s position and was responsible for personnel and equipment losses suffered.

Ukrainian media rights advocates have questioned Maliar’s accusations because movement and precise locations of the 1,500 to 2,000 men, 150 to 200 armored vehicles and 500 to 750 cars and trucks making up the 82nd – perhaps the single most powerful combat brigade in the entire AFU – was, those advocates argue, certainly spotted and tracked by Russian military intelligence without reading a Forbes article.

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