Lately youve had to check really hard to get unambiguous very good news for either of the armies fighting in Ukraine.
The battered Russian army, still 100 battalions strong but increasingly fragile, is struggling to stiffen its defenses in southern Ukraine while also seizing an individual tiny village on the outskirts of separatist-controlled Donetsk in eastern Ukraines Donbas region.
The Ukrainian army meanwhile is wanting to place weight behind a slow counteroffensive in the south while also exploiting gaps in Russian defenses in the eastbut minus the massive reinforcements commanders say these counterattacks usually require.
If theres an exception to the ambivalent situation, it may be the Ukrainian 93rd Mechanized Brigade. Its mostly of the Ukrainian formations that actively is liberating Russian-occupied settlements.
The 93rd reportedly led the assault that pushed Russian troops from the village of Mazanivka southwest of Izium in Donbas the other day. Videos that circulated online depict Ukrainian troops rolling past ruined buildings and wrecked Russian vehicles.
The brigade, which includes been fighting in northeastern and eastern Ukraine since Russia attacked in late February, is benefiting from Russias reaction to Ukraines slowbut escalatingcounteroffensive targeted at liberating the Russian-occupied port of Kherson on Ukraines Black Sea coast.
To blunt the Ukrainian attacks, the Kremlin is shifting south around a third of the 5o roughly battalions it had concentrated in the east earlier come early july. The battalions which are left in Donbas are too little and too weak to carry every settlement theyve captured since February.
The 93rd is seizing the initiative. And its own not the 1st time its done so. Back late March, the 93rd led among the first major counterattacks around Kharkiv, probably the most vulnerable of Ukraines major cities.
Situated since it is merely 25 miles from the Russian border, Kharkiv was among the invaders first objectives. However the citys garrison held on. And in late March, Ukrainian forces like the 93rd pushed back, ultimately developing a 20-mile buffer zone round the city which has held til now.
Along the way, the 93rd met the Russian 4th Guards Tank Division in the city of Trostianets, 50 miles north of Kharkiv. The 93rds troopers within their BMP and BTR fighting vehicles, packing Javelin anti-tank missiles and supported by T-80 tanks and off-the-shelf drones, mauled the Russian division.
Reporters counted a large number of destroyed Russian vehicles. “It’s beautiful, an area policeman said. All of this scrap metal.”
The 93rd shifted farther south and kept fighting. The 93rd has fired so lots of the American-made Javelin anti-tank missiles that officers have struggled to get rid of the missiles spent tubes.
The brigade like the majority of Ukrainian formations is using lots of ex-Russian hardware it captured, including a rare Nona-SVK 120-millimeter mortar on the chassis of a BTR-80 armored personnel carrier. This vehicle had a jammed engine and lacked some spare parts, the commander of the 93rds maintenance battalion said immediately after the brigade recovered the mortar. However, soon she’ll be fighting against her former owners.
Precisely how far the 93rd can rebel the Russians around Izium depends upon plenty of factors, including ammunition supplies and morale. However the most significant variable may be the Russians themselves. The Kremlin keeps shifting forces between your eastern and southern fronts to be able to block Ukrainian advances.
If the 93rd gains a lot more ground, the Russians might awaken to the threat the brigade posesand submit reinforcements to stiffen local defenses.
That needless to say could deprive various other commander of the forces he must hold their own lines. Which, in a nutshell, may be the dynamic underpinning the complete current phase of the five-month-old war.