Russia lost an entire battalion when trying to cross a river in eastern Ukraine

In recent days when the Russian army tried to cross a pontoon bridge spanning the Siverskyi Donets River, a total of 73 Russian equipment were destroyed or abandoned.

The defense ministry shared images that appeared to show more than 70 destroyed and damaged or abandon armored vehicles on both banks of the Siverskyi Donets River.

The Russian army has suffered heavy losses including the destruction of around no of T-72 tanks, BMP, BMK, BTR, and military trucks after the Ukrainian army blew up a pontoon bridge over the Siverskyi Donets river in the Luhansk region, according to reports.

The Siverskyi Donets, which threads from southern Russia into eastern Ukraine then back into Russia, is just one of several water barriers Russian battalions must cross in order to advance west into Ukrainian-held territory. According to the Ukrainian armed forces’ general staff, the battalion that got caught at the pontoon bridge apparently was trying to strike at Lyman, a city of 20,000 that lies 17 miles west of the doomed crossing.

The Ukrainian army’s 17th Tank Brigade spotted the bridge, perhaps using one of the many small drones that function as the army’s eyes over the battlefield. The 17th is one of the army’s four active tank brigades. Its line battalions operate T-64 tanks and BMP fighting vehicles. But it was the brigade’s artillery battalion with its 2S1 122-millimeter howitzers that apparently got first crack at the Russian bridge.

The 17th’s shelling destroyed at least seven T-72 and T-80 tanks, 17 BMPs, seven MT-LB armored tractors, five other vehicles and much of the bridging unit itself, including a tugboat and the pontoon span.

It’s unclear how many Russians died or were wounded, but it’s worth noting that no battalion can lose three-quarters of its vehicles and remain capable of operations. In one strike, the Ukrainians removed from the battlefield one of the roughly 99 Russian battalion tactical groups in Ukraine.

In the aftermath of their defeat, local Russian forces are sticking to their side of the river, “trying to hold positions on the right bank,” according to the general staff in Kyiv. The disastrous river-crossing comes as Russian forces also are retreating away from the city of Kharkiv, farther north.

To be fair to Moscow, crossing any water obstacle during wartime is dangerous. The Ukrainians can claim perhaps the most lopsided victory over an enemy bridging effort, but the Russians have knocked out some Ukrainian spans, too.


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