Russian military unit holding President Vladimir Putin’s annexed land lost 70 percent of its soldiers in a single week, according to Ukrainian military officials.
Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine on February 24, aiming for a quick victory over his Eastern European neighbor. However, Ukraine met Russian troops with a spirited defense effort, bolstered by Western military aid, blocking Russia from making substantial military gains. Throughout the ongoing nine-month conflict, Putin’s military has faced several challenges, including a lack of motivating forces and reports of high attrition.
Ukrainian military authorities on Monday revealed the latest challenge for Putin’s troops in an operational update posted to Facebook, in which they touted their military successes.
Despite mounting setbacks, Moscow has taken some territory in southeastern Ukraine—though Kyiv, in recent months, has taken back large swaths of the land, including the vital city of Kherson. According to Ukraine, one Russian unit seeking to hold control of this territory suffered significant losses in the past week.
“Russian invaders continue to die ingloriously in Ukraine,” the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine wrote in its update. “For example, one of the units of the Russian occupation forces in the Luhansk oblast lost up to 70% of its personnel last week.”
The troops were stationed near the village of Babyne, located about 86 miles northeast of Kherson. Ukrainian soldiers also destroyed up to five “units” of military equipment. More specific information about dead and wounded servicemen was “being clarified,” according to the update.
Ukraine’s success in Kherson resulted “in large part from the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ (UAF’s) innovative use of the US-provided Himars precision rocket system”, according to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).
Multiple precision strikes using Himars made Russian positions on the west side of the river impossible to resupply.
Also in the south, Russia has continued air, missile and artillery strike in recent days, with targets including Zaporizhzhia City. Ukraine says it has also struck Russian positions in the Zaporizhzhia region. Russian forces are forcibly mobilising men in Melitopol and Zaporizhzhia, and forcing them to construct trenches and other defences, according to the ISW.
The latest Ukrainian advance came after months of successful attacks on Russian positions on the west side of the Dnipro River, aimed at disrupting Russian supply lines.
Ukrainian targets included bridges across the river, as well as the roads, pontoons, barges and landing areas.
The report marks the latest indication that Russia’s invasion continues to falter, despite its vast size and perceived strength before the war. Earlier this month, Ukraine said Russia suffered 700 losses in a single day. Facing significant losses, Putin earlier in the fall announced a partial mobilization of forces to rebuild troop numbers, but experts say that has done little to stop Ukraine’s momentum.
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