Crossing the river: the Russian army maneuvers into a trap – and loses almost an entire battalion

BThe Russian army suffered heavy losses while trying to cross a river in eastern Ukraine. As the American media constantly reported, citing satellite images, Russian units came under fire when trying to build a pontoon bridge across the Donets River. According to Forbes, most of the Russian battalion – about 50 armored vehicles and up to 1,000 soldiers – tried to cross the river using the temporary bridge.

Ukrainian artillery fired at them on the river bank – destroying vehicles and the bridge itself, the media reported, citing aerial photos. When the bombing began, some Russian vehicles had already crossed the river and stood surrounded. According to CNN, the Russian army then attempted to build a second bridge. But it was also destroyed by Ukrainian heavy artillery, as satellite images indicate.

Russian tanks were apparently spotted by reconnaissance drones, according to unverifiable information from a Ukrainian officer. As announced by the Ministry of Defense in Kyiv, the 17th Armored Brigade of the Ukrainian Army subsequently destroyed the Russian units. According to “Forbes” reports, Ukraine used heavy artillery for the attack – special large-caliber howitzers, that is, weapons that Kyiv has been ordering from its Western allies and Germany for weeks.

Tanks destroyed on the bank of the Donets, where the pontoon bridge sank

Source: Ukrainian Ministry of Defense

According to the Forbes report, it was not clear how many Russian soldiers were killed and wounded. However, approximately 40 tanks, armored vehicles, the bridge itself and a tugboat were said to have been destroyed. What is certain is that the battalion was effectively eliminated by the attack because it was no longer working with the rest of the forces. In one fell swoop, the Russian army lost one of about 100 battalions deployed in Ukraine.

The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine tweeted aerial photos of destroyed Russian tanks and said: “The 17th Armored Brigade of the Ukrainian Army opened the holiday season for the Russians. Some of them bathed in the Donets River and others burned due to the May sun.”

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The incident, about 25 kilometers from the town of Lyman with a population of 20,000, is an example of the difficulties encountered by the Russian forces in their advance. “We continue to see Russian ground forces advancing slowly and at an uneven pace in the Donbass,” Forbes magazine quoted a Pentagon official as saying.

Destroyed Floating Bridge

Destroyed Floating Bridge

Source: Ukrainian Ministry of Defense

It may be the main reason for the problems of the Russian army when crossing the Ukrainian rivers. The more than 1,000 km long Donets River, which flows through Russia and Ukraine, is just one of the many waterways that Russian soldiers must negotiate to advance into territory controlled by the Ukrainian army.

In remote places or at points where bridges have been blown up, the Russian army is trying to use pontoon bridges. Part of the overall picture is that both the Ukrainian and Russian militaries have had repeated difficulties crossing rivers in recent weeks. However, the events in Donets seem to be the biggest such disaster to date.

Destroyed tanks on the Donets River

Destroyed tanks on the Donets River

Source: Ukrainian Ministry of Defense

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian command proposed to the Russian army a trade for the last defenders of the coastal city entrenched in the steelworks of Azovstal in Mariupol. “As a first step, we offered the Russians the following exchange: We will transport our seriously wounded children from Azovstal on a humanitarian corridor,” Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vereshuk said Wednesday evening, according to Okrajinska Pravda. At the same time, the Ukrainian army releases Russian prisoners of war “in accordance with the normative rules of their exchange.” Negotiations are ongoing and no agreement has yet been reached.

Several times over the past few days there have been reports of injured Ukrainian soldiers suffering in steel plants. According to one of the medics, there is now an absolute shortage of medicines. The spacious steel mills are the last stronghold of Ukrainian forces in the now badly damaged port city of Mariupol. The Russian army demands that the defenders surrender, while the Ukrainian forces flatly refuse.

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In the area between Cherson and Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine, Ukrainian and Russian forces again fought bitter battles. Ukraine’s military command said Thursday evening that the defenders did not give the Russian attackers “any opportunity to advance”. The agency quoted the statement, that at least 23 Russian soldiers were killed and two tanks and an ammunition depot were destroyed during the battles. The information cannot be independently verified.

To facilitate their attacks, apparently, the Russian military leadership called on international organizations to evacuate places in eastern Ukraine. “In light of the looming catastrophic humanitarian situation for most civilians in Kramatorsk and Sloviansk, we call on the international community, the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the International Committee of the Red Cross to immediately take all measures for the speedy and safe evacuation of civilians,” Colonel-General Mikhail Mizintsev of the Ministry of Defense said. Russian defense as saying Wednesday evening about these cities under the control of the Ukrainian armed forces.

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According to Mizintsev, the Ukrainian forces have barricaded themselves in these places and are using their civilian population as living shields. Accordingly, there were about 90,000 civilians in Sloviansk and Kramatorsk, and Kramatorsk and Sloviansk are the cornerstones of the Ukrainian defense lines in eastern Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky believes that ending the war with Russia is possible only after the restoration of all occupied Ukrainian lands. “If we take back everything that concerns us, we will end the war,” the head of state said on Wednesday in an interview with French students. “We want peace in our country,” said the 44-year-old.

Selenskyj in his video switching in front of students of the elite French University Science Po

Selenskyj in his video switching in front of students of the elite French University Science Po

Source: dpa / Thibault Camus

In 2014, Russia already included Crimea on the Ukrainian Black Sea. Russian President Vladimir Putin also justified the aggressive war by the fact that Ukraine was planning to retake Crimea using military force. At the military parade on Red Square on Monday, Putin said such an attempt was imminent, without providing any evidence. Russia has long ruled out categorically the return of Crimea.

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It is said that Ukraine attacked Russia again on its territory. The governor of the Belgorod region, Vyacheslav Gladkov, said on Wednesday that one person was killed in a Ukrainian attack in southwest Russia. A man was killed in the ambulance and three others were injured. He said it was “the most difficult situation in his region since Russian President Vladimir Putin sent troops to Ukraine on February 24. Ukraine hit the village of Soloshi, partially destroying a house.”

Authorities in the border region with Ukraine regularly accuse Ukrainian forces of carrying out attacks on Russian territory. Gladkov said in April that Ukrainian helicopters had attacked a fuel depot in Belgorod.

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