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“31 soldiers crawled through minefields for 18 hours on their stomachs” - Kuleba on heroic liberation of Robotyne

These soldiers reached the Russian positions, knocked them out and held the territory until reinforcements arrived. 

“31 soldiers crawled through minefields for 18 hours on their stomachs” - Kuleba on heroic liberation of Robotyne
Ukrainian flag raised in Robotyne
Photo: video screenshot

The liberation of the strategically important Robotyno in Zaporizhzhya Region was made possible by a Ukrainian unit. It had been conducting continuous assaults on this most difficult section of the frontline for several months, leaving the military physically and morally exhausted and unable to continue the offensive.

Then it was decided to change the unit's leadership. The new commander asked to gather motivated ones and those ready to perform combat missions. The details of the liberation of Robotyne were provided by Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba at a conference of ambassadors in France, the Foreign Ministry reports.

The unit was formed of 31 soldiers, one third of them had no combat experience, but all had the knowledge and desire to win. Thanks to commanders and sergeants, the group established horizontal ties with neighboring units and began working on the contact line.

Kuleba said that the defenders spent 18 hours crawling literally on their stomachs through kilometers of minefields, where the Russians had placed six mines for every square meter. The unit reached a tree line that separates farmers' fields. Our unit kicked the Russians out of there and held the position for two days until reinforcements arrived.

After that, the group walked another 10 kilometres with backpacks weighing 35-40 kilograms through minefields. They only had time to take a breather and immediately stormed the fortified Russian positions, kicked the enemy out and held on until the main forces arrived.

In 40 days, this unit conducted six assaults and two reconnaissance missions. A group of 31 men did the work of an entire battalion. There are seven wounded, including only one seriously injured after stepping on a mine.

Kuleba emphasised that the work of this group actually made it possible for the entire brigade to attack Robotyne and liberate it after weeks of assaults.

"I told you this story to demonstrate three principles that are also useful for diplomats. The first is that leaders lead the way, no matter what the skeptics say and no matter how difficult it is. The second is that it is not about numerical superiority, but about motivation, intelligence, and the ability to act as a team. So every time someone tells you that Russia is too big to defeat, tell them this story. Third, the focus on victory must be unconditional," Kuleba said.

On 22 August, the Ukrainian Armed Forces entered Robotyne with a battle. The next day, soldiers of the 47th Brigade raised a Ukrainian flag over the school destroyed by the Russians, signed by the Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces Valeriy Zaluzhnyy. Intense fighting for the settlement continued, and the Russians did not stop shelling it. Eventually, the settlement was completely liberated. 

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