Ukraine wipes out three of Putin’s best combat brigades in devastating counter

Russia attacks it’s own troops

Ukraine has “crushed” three of Vladimir Putin’s best combat brigades in the east of the country, according to a top general.

General Oleksandr Syrskyi lauded the recent capture of Klishchiivka and Andriivka located on higher ground near Bakhmut as a key breakthrough on a front that has seen some of the war’s heaviest fighting.

Syrskyi said in a statement on Telegram: “In the fighting in the Bakhmut section, some of the enemy’s best units have been crushed and have completely lost their combat power.”

The Russian brigades operating in the area include the 72nd Motor Rifle Brigade as well as the elite 31st and 83rd Air Assault Brigades which the general claimed were “defeated and completely disabled”.

There have been previous reports that the 72nd Motor Rifle Brigade was essentially annihilated with three battalion commanders and a chief intelligence officer killed in the fighting, according to Ukraine’s 3rd assault brigade.

READ MORE: Ukraine spies launch ‘special operation’ as explosions rock occupied Crimea

A full-strength Russian brigade can consist of anywhere between 2,000 and 8,000 soldiers.

Fierce fighting continued around Bakhmut as depleted Russian forces launched counterattacks in an attempt to regain lost positions but Syrskyi said Ukrainian forces were holding the line.

He added: “After all, these small, at first glance, settlements were important elements of the enemy’s defensive line, which stretched from Bakhmut to Horlivka [about 25 miles south of the city].”

The general continued: “As a result of our troops’ successful actions, the enemy’s defensive line – which it tried to close by throwing all available reserves into battle – was breached.”

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Washington-based think tank The Institute for the Study of War – which covers the Ukraine conflict – said on Monday that Ukraine made advances south of Bakhmut. Ukrainian claims about the destruction of Russian brigades could mean heavy losses for Moscow.

The think-tank said: “These VDV [Russian airborne] elements were involved in counterattacking and attempting to roll back Ukrainian advances around Bakhmut… and likely suffered heavy losses.”

Bakhmut was captured by Wagner mercenary forces in May following a 10-month battle that became one of the bloodiest of the war.

Since launching a counteroffensive in June, Kyiv’s hard-fought forces have recaptured more than 19 square miles of territory around the embattled city.

Hampered by built-up Russian defences – including miles of trenchworks, tank traps and huge amounts of land mines – Ukraine’s counteroffensive has gone slower than the one launched a year ago.

However, recent weeks have seen Kyiv’s forces mount breakthroughs on the southern and, now, eastern fronts.

Ukraine will likely push for significant gains before the so-called muddy season sets in around late fall hampering troop movements.

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