According to Col. Toomas Vali, deputy chief of operations at the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) General Staff, there have been no major changes on the ground in Ukraine and no major breakthroughs are expected from either side in the near future. Speaking at a Ministry of Defense press conference, Col. Väli said that the changing weather conditions in fall may also have an impact on proceedings.
"Simply put, it can be said that neither side has achieved any major breakthroughs," said Col. Väli said at a Ministry of Defense press conference on Friday.
Although weather conditions on the front line have generally remained favorable for attacks from both sides, the degradation of roads resulting from recent spells of heavy rain has started to reduce the ability to maneuver military equipment.
However, this does not prevent small infantry units from "playing hide-and-seek and destroying each other," Väli said.
According to the EDF colonel, changes to the weather may have an adverse impact on the use of small drones. "We have to understand that if the weather is really bad, the clouds are low and the winds are strong, then we need to deploy drones, which are a little larger. And if the drones cannot see and cannot identify their targets, then that in turn will affect how the artillery is used," he added.
According to Col. Väli, in the northern section of the 1,000 kilometer-long frontline, in the direction of Kupiansk, Russia has been seen making battlefield preparation and deploying additional units, with the 25th Combined Arms Army possibly among them.
"Due to the changes in the weather, it can be expected that the activity of Russian Federation troops there may increase," Väli said. However, even with additional troops, Russia will not be able to break through Ukraine's defenses, he added.
Further south, in the direction of Bakhmut, the two sides are engaged in trench warfare reminiscent of World War One, the colonel said.
Ukrainian forces can be seen taking the town of Bakhmut "very systematically and calmly" from both the north and the south. However, at the same time, Russia has managed to generally keep the situation there under its control, Väli said.
There have been no changes to the situation in the directions of Marinka and Avdiivka.
Speaking about Ukraine's counter-offensive in the direction of Orikhiv, Zaporizhzhia Oblast, Väli said that following the liberation of nearby Robotyne, the Ukrainians would continue to fortify and expand their position.
Ukrainian units have broken through several defensive lines, with Russia attempting to launch its own counter-attacks there to repel the Ukrainians.
At the same time, Russian engineering units can also be seen continuing to build fortifications, particularly in the direction of Berdiansk and Mariupol.
Väli explained that as Russia relies heavily on rail transport for its logistics, the construction of a 50-kilometer railway line between Mariupol and Komsomolsk has begun in order to reduce fears of cuts to its existing supply line, as well as to provide relief and supply occupied Crimea. Although Ukraine is slowly advancing towards Orikhiv, a breakthrough in the coming weeks is not expected, Col. Väli said.
Editor: Michael Cole