Russians in Shock as Column of 3 Tanks, 7 AFVs and BMP Destroyed in 3 Hours

New footage circulating online appears to show the destruction of a slew of Russian vehicles in eastern Ukraine, eliciting shock among Russian military observers, even as Moscow inches westward along the Donetsk frontlines.

In a clip posted online, attributed to Ukraine’s 72nd Mechanized Brigade and dated January 30, what appears to be a column of Russian vehicles advances on the Donetsk village of Novomykhailivka, south of Marinka, captured by Russia in late December, and southwest of the regional capital, Donetsk City.

The footage, apparently recorded by Ukrainian airborne drones, shows kamikaze drones barrelling into a series of Russian T-72 tanks and a number of fighting vehicles. The video then cuts to a series of explosions and heavily damaged vehicles.

In just three hours, three Russian tanks, up to seven MT-LB tracked armored fighting vehicles and one BMP fighting vehicle were destroyed, according to the WarTranslated account on social media platform X, which works to translate war material into English. Influential Russian channels tracking Moscow’s war effort were “shocked” by the destruction of the column of vehicles, the account wrote on Wednesday.

A destroyed T-72 Russian tank in the village of Bohorodychne, eastern Ukraine, on December 20, 2022. A clip posted online appears to show the destruction of a slew of Russian vehicles in eastern Ukraine.

Sameer Al-DOUMY/AFP via Getty Images
Newsweek has reached out to the Russian defense ministry for comment via email.

Russia had attempted an “unsuccessful assault southwest of Donetsk City,” with footage showing “damaged and abandoned Russian armored vehicles north and south of Novomykhailivka” in the wake of the attack, according to the U.S. think tank, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

Footage circulating online “shows that Russian forces sustained about a company’s worth of heavy armored vehicle losses during assaults in the area,” the think tank said.

The destruction of a column of Russian tanks and armored vehicles recalls dramatic footage of Moscow’s initial, 40-mile-long convoy heading towards Kyiv as the full-scale war got underway.

Russia’s tanks and armored vehicles have taken heavy losses in fighting in Donetsk in recent months, particularly around the embattled settlement of Avdiivka, northeast of Novomykhailivka. Russia has made some gains on the frontlines, but paid for those small chunks of territory with significant vehicle losses.

On Tuesday, the Ukrainian military said Russia had attacked around Novomykhailivka, Heorhiivka and Pobieda. Along the front between the village of Solodke, south of Novomykhailivka, and Kostyantynivka, to the west of Novomykhailivka, Russia lost two tanks and seven fighting vehicles, including a BMP vehicle.

Russians channels shocked by annihilation of a russian advancing column in Novomikhaylivka on 30 January. Huge channels are sharing footage where in just 3 hours, 3 tanks, 7 MT-LBs and 1 BMP were destroyed.

As if it’s anything new from the second army in the world.

— WarTranslated (Dmitri) (@wartranslated) January 31, 2024
Shortly after the Kremlin took control of Marinka, a former Ukrainian colonel, Serhiy Hrabsky, told Newsweek that Ukraine’s grip around Novomykhailivka would “significantly deteriorate.”

Russia will also want to advance toward the town of Vuhledar, which was the site of bitter battles throughout 2022, he said in late December. Russian troops “desperately tried to capture” it, Hrabsky said, but Ukraine will need to steadfastly defend the settlement because of its strategic value.

Moscow could then work its way to the town of Kurakhove and ultimately down to Velyka Novosilka, close to the Donetsk border with the Dnipropetrovsk region, Hrabsky predicted.

Russian forces have advanced to the southwest of Donetsk City after carrying out “renewed mechanized assaults in the area,” the ISW said on Wednesday. One prominent military blogger said on Thursday that Russia was advancing on Novomykhailivka and Heorhiivka.

On Wednesday, Russia’s defense ministry said it had “repelled” an attack from Ukraine’s 79th Airborne Assault Brigade around Novomykhailivka. Ukraine defended against 10 attacks across Novomykhailivka, Heorhiivka and Krasnohorivka, to the north of Marinka, the Ukrainian military said on Thursday.

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