Drone footage of Ukrainian forces shows an ambush on a Russian armored column on the outskirts of Brovary, a suburb east of Kiev.
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The colective bellingcat, specializing in open source investigation, located the ambush site in a sparsely inhabited area of the E95 highway, about 35 kilometers from the center of Kiev. The highway leads directly east of the capital, where Russian forces have been trying to mass.
Released by the Ukrainian armed forces, the video is a 45-second edit of the road fight. It shows a company, or several, of Russian tanks and armored vehicles being attacked over and over again. Due to the quality of its production, it is thought that the recorded fights must have occurred before Thursday.
At the end of the video is audio of what appears to be an attack report sent by a Russian officer to his superiors, included in the edit to demonstrate the effectiveness of the ambush. The regimental commander is also said to have been killed. According to the Ukrainian media, he was Colonel Andrei Zakharov, although this information could not be independently confirmed.
“The sixth regiment is lost,” the officer tells his headquarters. “I cannot report on the sixth regiment. I am collecting data. Many losses. They were waiting for us. The head of the convoy was ambushed. Regimental commander killed in action,” is heard in the audio.
Several military experts have described the video as credible and have been surprised by the strategy of the Russian forces, with more than 20 tanks and armored vehicles on a main road so close to the capital.
Either they thought they were passing through a safe zone, or they hadn’t received good training, or they were moving quickly for some other reason.
“Either they thought they were passing through a safe zone, or they hadn’t received good training, or they were moving quickly for some other reason,” explains Ben Barry, a former British Army tank commander and ground warfare specialist at the International Institute think tank. of Strategic Studies.
According to Barry, tanks moving through built-up areas are often supported by infantry to avoid ambushes from the sides of the road. After seeing the images and the type of explosions, Barry said that the Russian armor must have been attacked with artillery or mortars.
In the audio recording, the Russian soldier who is apparently reporting on the ambush speculates that they may have been attacked by Turkish Bayraktar drones, but the poor weather conditions and low cloud cover seen in the video are not optimal for drone attacks.
In some parts of the footage there is also a TOS-1 heavy flamethrower clearly marked with the symbol O at the bottom of the screen and as part of the Russian detachment. At one point in the fight, TOS-1 fires an incendiary rocket at a target that does not appear to be in the area captured by the footage, demonstrating the Russian decision to use thermobaric weapons.
According to Rob Lee, a former US Marine, an expert on the Russian military and a doctoral student at King’s College London, the video demonstrated “very poor tactics” by the Russians in clearly positioning their forces “in an obvious avenue of approach.” .
Russia has suffered more losses than anticipated during an invasion that has lasted just over two weeks. Ukraine is trying to mobilize public opinion in its favor by highlighting the successes of its army and publishing footage of destroyed Russian tanks or enemy armor being towed by tractors.
According to the specialized control center Oryx, which measures losses by analyzing photographic or video evidence, 164 Russian tanks have been destroyed, damaged or captured so far. According to Oryx, the Russians have also lost 102 armored fighting vehicles. Ukraine has lost 47 tanks and 39 combat vehicles from a smaller force.
An American assessment from earlier this week said between 5,000 and 6,000 Russian soldiers had been killed; and between 2,000 and 4,000 Ukrainians; plus many more civilians. Another US assessment estimated that the two sides had lost between 8% and 10% of the military assets committed to the combat.
Translation: Francisco de Zarate