What do experts say about the prospects for liberating Tokmak?
The occupiers are shouting for retreat and building new fortifications, while experts emphasize that there will be no urban battles. Find out more about Ukraine's counteroffensive in the south and the prospects for the Ukrainian Armed Forces' advance toward Tokmak
The advance of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the southern direction is prompting heated discussions about a counteroffensive, including the prospects for liberating the strategic target of Tokmak. At the same time, russian propagandists and "military commanders" are already starting to rhetoric about a "gesture of goodwill" to "save troops." Their speeches even include theses about the "complete defeat of the army" in the Melitopol direction if the occupation forces try to hold Tokmak and do not retreat.
So, what is happening on the southern front and what are the experts' predictions regarding the advance of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the liberation of Tokmak?
Ukrainian counteroffensive strategy: what is the nearest target of the UAF?
According to Oleksandr Kovalenko, political observer of the Information Resistance group, the current goal of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the south is to reach the city of Tokmak in Zaporizhzhia region via the T0408 highway. This will be possible if Novoprokopivka, Ilchenkove and Solodka Balka are liberated.
Control over the main russian railroad logistics route connecting Melitopol with Volnovakha will limit the redeployment of occupiers' forces and equipment, as they will have only one road along the Azov Sea.
Having advanced close to Tokmak, the Ukrainian Armed Forces will have several ways to launch a counteroffensive. Surrounding the city will require more time and effort, but the occupiers' retreat, which is already being discussed in russia, will allow them to quickly de-occupy the city and continue their offensive on Melitopol.
Currently, Ukrainian soldiers are about 16-18 kilometers from Tokmak. The Tokmak-Pologi highway is about 6-8 kilometers away.
What is the situation with russian troops in the southern direction?
According to the latest statements of one of the russian "military commanders", Ukrainian fighters have already reached the outskirts of Novoprokopivka and are conducting assault operations. However, the Ukrainian General Staff has not yet confirmed this information.
At the same time, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) states that there are signs of exhaustion of elite russian units in this area, as a result of which they are no longer able to counterattack, but are forced to partially abandon their positions and retreat. At the same time, the ISW notes that the deployment of some units of the 42nd Motorized Infantry Division near Tokmak indicates that the enemy does not have enough forces to complete its entire multi-echelon defense. ISW experts also note that there has been an outbreak of ethnic tension in the ranks of the russian forces.
"Inter-ethnic tensions between russian units operating on the front line and in the rear in Zaporizhzhia region could threaten the integrity of russian defense and unit cohesion amid recent Ukrainian gains in the area," ISW states.
It is also worth noting that in addition to the russian hysteria about the need to retreat to preserve forces, according to the mayor of Melitopol, Ivan Fedorov, it became known that the russians are building new fortifications, in particular north of Tokmak.
"North of Tokmak, a new fortified area has appeared on both sides of the road leading to the village of Robotyne, which was recently liberated by the Ukrainian Armed Forces," he said.
In addition, Fedorov notes that the occupiers are using concrete trucks to build fortifications.
When will the Ukrainian Armed Forces reach the goal?
No one is talking about specific time frames or dates. However, experts note that if Ukrainian soldiers manage to reach Tokmak in October, then further counteroffensives in the Melitopol sector will not be hampered by bad weather and frost and they will be able to continue the offensive even in winter.
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