Ukraine War, 27 July 2023: Robotyne & Staromaiorske – Tom Cooper

The 35th separate Marine brigade, together with the 7th “Arey” separate battalion of the 129th Territorial Defense Force Brigade liberated Staromaiorske settlement, Donetsk region

This one is not only going to be ‘quick & dirty’, but almost literally ‘written on the run’…. and focusing on just two points.

1.) As far as is known by now, what’s left of the ‘Russian garrison’ of Staromaiorske (south of Velyka Novoselivka, in south-western Donetsk) has capitulated yesterday evening. That is: some survivors tried to run away, but many of them run into their own minefields; others melted away, and those that were still around have had enough and gave up. Ukrainian naval infantry is mopping up the area between that place and Urozhaine.

2.) East/south-east of Robotyne, the ZSU continued pushing through in southern direction and widened its penetration by clearing additional Russian positions on the eastern flank of the same. So, if you hear somebody talking about Novoprokopivka…. let me express it this way: it does look like I’m going to need a new map of this area.

Today, another ‘major success’ was reported from this area, but more about this when the time comes.

With this, the ZSU is actually through the Russian 2nd Line of Defence in this area (which is precisely why it attacked so stubbornly in the Robotyne area: this is the place where there are ‘just a few kilometres’ between the Russian ‘1st Line’ and ‘2nd Line’: elsewhere, they are much more distant from each other).

Generally, it seems the Russians are starting to feel the effects of all the massive losses their troops have taken the last 1,5 months, of Ukrainian strikes on their headquarters, storage depots, and bridges in the rear. There are ever more reports about Russian commanders ‘stuffing the frontline full’ of troops (say: 100 per 100 metres of the frontline), like if this could stop Ukrainians. Actually, it’s just making the Russians perfect targets for all sorts of Ukrainian arms. There are also ever more reports about shortages of ammunition and supplies.

Of course, Pudding’s PRBS-industrialists are claiming ‘assaults by 100 tanks’ and ‘50 destroyed’ and ‘massive Ukrainian losses’. However, the only evidence for these are ever additional videos from early June: in some cases, it turns out back then they’ve recorded the same attack on the same M2/M3 Bradley with 7-8 different cameras. So, every week, they release another take of the very same scene…

Actually, the VSRF is meanwhile short on reserve units and on the best way of losing control of this battle.

Comment: In the last few days there are wild stories about a new phase of the counter offensive in several directions, the committing of previously uncommitted Ukrainian brigades, catastrophic casualties, not so catastrophic casualties and significant advances made after near two months of less significant advances. What to believe? I believe the truth will lag behind the initial stories by several weeks. Russian accounts are all over the map. The Ukrainians aren’t saying squat. The pundits and “analysts” are guessing, often out of pure emotion. Tom Cooper’s accounts are, at least, readable.

I do think we’ll have a fairly clear idea of where things stand by early September. In the meantime, I don’t see either side collapsing militarily, but they will both be exhausted. NATO will continue to support the Ukrainian war effort. Neither the US nor China want to risk chaos in the Kremlin and will take measures to ensure that doesn’t happen. Neither is willing to make that leap of faith.

I do see continued occupation of Crimea by the Russian invaders becoming more untenable, but I don’t see Ukraine reclaiming Crimea this year. Maybe next year. 


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15 Responses to Ukraine War, 27 July 2023: Robotyne & Staromaiorske – Tom Cooper

  1. leith says:


    Meanwhile Shoigu is arms shopping in Pyongyang. Seems to be particularly interested in missiles and drones. Apparently the strategy will be to continue the war on cities no matter even if Kyiv’s counter-offensive is successful.

  2. Regarding who controls what parts of Ukraine,
    I would have thought overhead imagery from satellites
    would give a fairly clear idea of where the armed forces are,
    and also the state of defensive fortifications.

    • TTG says:

      Keith Harbaugh,

      What the imagery will show that the front lines are far from contiguous. Units are widely spread out on both sides and they are often intermixed. This a squad and platoon level war. It’s the same in Syria. It’s probably typical of all modern wars.

      The Russian defensive lines were mapped with overhead imagery and are shown to be near as dispersed as units. Also unmanned fortifications and unwatched obstacles are close to useless.

  3. I should have added:
    At least to those cleared for such stuff.
    Outside of the SCIFs,
    there are commercial photint satellites producing imagery.
    If anyone has the time, interest, and money, they can analyze the produced imagery.
    Or hire some trained imagery interpreters who have left government service but retained the skills they learned therein.

    Just some thoughts on how the state of affairs could be analyzed.

    • TTG says:

      Keith Harbaugh,

      Some open source researchers do use commercial imagery, but they admit it’s still expensive.

  4. wiz says:

    IMO, time is not on Ukraine’s side. Next year might be too late.
    They’ve been fighting this war with 120% effort, while the Russians are still in the ramping up phase.

    If they fail to achieve a decisive breakthrough in the next few months, come spring they’ll be facing a much tougher opponent.

  5. Whitewall says:

    Some good news in this at last. I read a piece yesterday, maybe ISW, about the blending or lack thereof, of Ukr old way of fighting along with the NATO way of combined and coordinated arms style. The article indicated it is hard to teach ‘old dogs’ new tricks thereby slowing down the Ukr counter attack.

  6. Jovan P says:

    I once read about a history teacher that read to his students German soldier’s letters from the Eastern front, dated at different periods of time from 1941 to 1945.

  7. cobo says:

    I’ve always expected Africa to be the world’s real meatgrinder. Let’s start the fun. Hasn’t Wagner already been declared a criminal organization, no?, not enough… Then let’s get that done. Then, Africa ho! They been bad, so we, NATO, should go straighten that all out. Pray for PEACE, heh heh.

  8. F&L says:

    $75 in only ten days. At that rate in less than a year they can afford a ticket out. San Francisco beckons. You can steal $1000 at one go from any major store without facing charges. Which makes one wonder – why fight in Ukraine?

  9. English Outsider says:

    This is the point of maximum separation between the two narratives. The Western narrative, as I have seen triumphantly stated in the UK media, that Ukraine is on the verge of a major breakthrough. The other, as stated on many American blogs, that it’s all over bar the shouting and that this “counter-offensive” is a failure.

    I’d be surprised if the former were true. But also puzzled. Should the Ukrainians have broken through then the Russians would simply have geared up a notch. So why all the expectation? From February 24th last year, this was never a war the unfortunate Ukrainians could win. I doubt very much the Canadians could put much of a dent in US defence, even fully mobilised and were they backed up by half the world, and the disparity here has also always been apparent.

    The war is in fact a tragic sideshow. The real action was elsewhere. We put our money on breaking Russia with sanctions and it didn’t come off. We now wait to see how the politicians manage the blame game. I hope they sacrifice no more of our proxies as they do so, for whichever narrative one takes as gospel the rank and file Ukrainian soldiers have been unbelievably courageous and resourceful.

  10. Fred says:

    “There are ever more reports about Russian commanders ‘stuffing the frontline full’ of troops (say: 100 per 100 metres of the frontline), like if this could stop Ukrainians. ”

    That’s even closer together than the 8 guys in the caption photo. Wonderful intel, guys. (linked report). TTG, your comment on the front line being porous is spot on. That was pointed out here a year ago.

    • F&L says:

      That’s nothing compared to the stuffing inside these turkeys.
      Warning – keep fast forward button close at hand while viewing this. Or call Emergency medical services in advance. Grand prize for guessing:

      A) Anything that MLK’s purported relative says without using English subtitles
      B) How much the DT had to pay a Cambridge & Oxford professor or two to
      i) Say they are anti-reparayshuns
      ii) Claim they were selling their body on the street since the age of 9
      iii) Was the sign which said “Throw things -only water balloons please- at the black DT car Now!” painted in pink or white, or did they use SMS with a smartphone?

      We were attacked by a homeless mob in San Francisco: Daily Tell a Laugh

  11. Whitewall says:

    This site was down for a couple of days or was it just my Russian made computer?

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