Britain’s Defense Ministry said on Friday that satellite images confirmed Ukrainian forces decimated a Russian battalion when it attempted to cross a series of pontoon bridges over a river in northeastern Ukraine earlier this week, a dramatic setback for Russian troops already struggling. to make significant progress along the Eastern Front.
While it was not clear how many soldiers were killed trying to cross the Seversky Donets River, the numbers of burnt-out and destroyed vehicles scattered along the river suggested that Russian troops suffered heavy casualties.
The British assessment came after the release of the Ukrainian army drone images on Wednesday from what it said were the remains of a Russian battalion. The photos showed at least two bridges sunk into the river west of Sievierodonetsk and dozens of destroyed Russian military vehicles scattered on both sides of the riverbank and the surrounding area.
The 650-mile river originates in Russia and meanders southeast through the eastern Donbas region before re-entering Russian territory, where it forms meandering lakes, floodplains and swamps. The winding path cuts through the heart of the region where Russian forces battle against Ukrainian defenders – around the cities of Izium, Sloviansk, Kramatorsk and Sievierodonetsk – posing major obstacles to Moscow’s offensive in eastern Ukraine.
Russian forces have been deployed across the frontline in a crescent moon stretching from Izium in the north to Donetsk in the south, trying to encircle tens of thousands of Ukrainian soldiers.
Until now, however, Russia has not made significant According to Ukrainian officials and Western military analysts, their troops have been repeatedly thwarted in their attempts to cross the Seversky Donets, leading to heavy casualties and slowing down their already protracted advance.
“Crossing rivers in a contentious environment is a very risky maneuver and speaks to the pressure Russian commanders face to make progress in their operations in eastern Ukraine.” This was announced by the British Ministry of Defense on Friday.
It said Russia had lost “significant armored maneuver elements from at least one Battalion Tactical Group” while trying to cross the river. Although the ministry said satellite images confirmed the loss of Russian equipment, it did not address Ukrainian claims that as many as 1,000 Russian soldiers were killed, which were impossible to verify. Russian battalion groups generally have between 700 and 1,000 men.
Whatever the casualty figure, Russia’s losses in crossing the river underscored the army’s wider struggle to achieve its limited goal of taking more territory in eastern Ukraine after it withdrew from the capital Kiev in the North.
More recently, Ukrainian forces have also pushed Russian troops back from the area around the northern city of Kharkiv, potentially threatening Russian supply lines to Izium, which Russia is using as a staging area for its offensive.
The Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based think tank, said there has been a “significant decline in energy” in Russia’s advance from Izium, suggesting that Moscow will eventually relaunch efforts for a broad encirclement of Ukrainian troops. could stop. Instead, the analysts said, Russia could try to build on marginal gains and attempt a “shallow” encirclement of Ukrainian forces in the cities of Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk.