Russian forces may have met a lot more resistance in Ukraine than their commanders and President Vladimir Putin initially anticipated, but as the fighting continues, Moscow’s superior numbers are taking a heavy toll on Kyiv’s defenders.
According to a report on RT.com, at least two thousand Ukrainian troops including the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion are now trapped in the eastern Donbas region after having been surrounded by Russian troops, Chechen fighters and Ukrainian rebels.
“The soldiers are encircled in two neighboring towns in the Lugansk People’s Republic,” the report said, referencing a region of Ukraine that has been annexed by Putin and renamed.
“Four Ukrainian battalions as well as an artillery unit are among those trapped, the Defense Ministry announced. The encircled forces also include around 120 fighters from the notorious ‘Right Sector,’ a neo-Nazi group of up to 80 foreign fighters, according to the ministry,” the report continued.
You may recall that one of Putin’s objectives for invading Ukraine was its ‘denazification.’
The encircled Ukrainian troops are in the towns of Gorskoye and Zolotoye, located south of the major cities of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk. Those cities have recently been targeted by both sides as they continue to trade ground and fight over the territory of Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, RT.com reported.
The report adds:
The Russian military has also claimed that the trapped units have lost over 60% of their strength. According to the defense ministry, 41 Ukrainian soldiers encircled in the area have surrendered. The Defense Ministry has also published a video supposedly showing those who have laid down their arms.
The head of the Ukrainian Gorskoye military administration, Aleksey Babchenko, confirmed to the Ukrainian media on Friday that the town has been fully seized by the Russian forces and the Donbass militias.
Sergey Gaidai, who is called “the head of the Lugansk Oblast” by the Ukrainian government in Kyiv, noted on the chat app Telegram that the country’s forces may soon pull back from Lysychansk because their defensive positions have been knocked out by Russian forces, and there is “little sense” in trying to remain.
In addition, Russian warplanes have successfully targeted a Ukrainian artillery battery that was equipped with American-made M777 howitzers in the Kharkiv region. In recent days, the Brandon regime had agreed to supply Ukraine with as many as 90 M777 guns, The New York Times reported in May.
“Russia is using its long-range fires to try to overwhelm Ukrainian positions,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said last week at a NATO ministers meeting in Brussels, Belgium, in part to figure out how to get more weapons and ammunition to Ukrainian troops being pounded by long-range Russian guns and rocket fire.
“The most advanced weapons the United States has so far supplied Ukraine include four HIMARS truck-mounted multiple-launch rocket launchers, with rockets that have a range of up to 40 miles, greater than anything Ukraine currently possesses. The first Ukrainian team is scheduled to complete its training on the system on Wednesday, and it will be deployed in the battlefield next week, a Brandon administration official said,” according to the Times.
The Russian encirclement comes amid earlier reports that Moscow’s forces claim to have killed hundreds of Ukrainian troops during a strike on a shipbuilding plant in the Ukrainian port of Nikolaev. In addition, the Russian Defense Ministry said forces killed dozens of Ukrainian officers during a strike on a compound where several Ukrainian unit commanders were meeting.
The war will likely continue for months, if not years, which will no doubt leave more of Ukraine a wasteland as Russia continues to dominate in manpower, manufacturing and technology.
The U.S. should be sitting this one out but won’t, for some reason.