Inexperienced Russian troops have crashed two tanks on their way to the frontline, according to Ukraine’s General Staff. The incident seems to point to the level of experience Putin’s newly mobilised soldiers will be bringing to the fight in Ukraine.
Ukrainian soldiers have repelled several significant Russian assaults in the Donetsk region as well as in the south of Ukraine. And out of seven new Russian tanks en route to the fight in Donetsk, two did not make due to an accident.
In a Facebook update, Ukraine’s General Staff said: “The adversary continues to direct newly mobilized, low-skilled personnel to the combat areas.
“On September 26, there were seven tanks [moving towards the] Donetsk region, two of which were in an accident while following [the group].”
It added that the tank operators also did not posses the “fire training” to “use of state-of-the-art tank armament”.
The news seems to confirm what several analysts have predicted – that Putin’s use of inexperienced troops to bolster manpower in Ukraine will not likely translate to any advantage on the battlefield.
In addition to the tank crash, Ukraine claims to have destroyed three Russian anti-aircraft defences in Zaporizhzhia as well as command posts and warehouses containing ammunition across the front.
Russian troops are reportedly close to being encircled in the town of Lyman in Donetsk, and Moscow losing the town would be another embarrassment for Putin. Think tank the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) pointed to prominent Russian military bloggers who seemed to confirm this information.
It said: “Russian milbloggers and prominent military correspondents claimed that Ukrainian troops advanced west, north, and northeast of Lyman and are working to complete the envelopment of Russian troops in Lyman and along the northern bank of the Siverskyi Donets River in this area.”
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It added: “The collapse of the Lyman pocket will likely be highly consequential to the Russian grouping in northern Donetsk and western Luhansk oblasts and may allow Ukrainian troops to threaten Russian positions along the western Luhansk Oblast border and in the Severodonetsk-Lysychansk area.”
The Severodonetsk-Lysychansk area became the heart of the fighting in Luhansk and was one of the last areas to fall to Russian occupation in the region. Its recapture would be a strategic and morale victory for Ukraine.
The General Staff also reported that Moscow had mobilised around 2,000 men from occupied Crimea which was annexed by Russia in 2014 following an internationally unrecognised referendum.
That news comes as the Kremlin announced that it will annex four areas of Ukraine – Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson – following illegal “sham” referenda which saw them overwhelmingly vote to become a part of Russia.
It is believed that Russia will announce the annexation of these territories immediately, possibly to avoid losing more ground to Ukraine before the so-called annexation takes place. ISW says the annexation announcement will likely take place tomorrow, September 30.
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Kyiv and its Western allies have said the annexation would change nothing in terms of Ukraine’s sovereignty over the regions.
However, Vladimir Putin and his allies have said on multiple occasion that they would consider the territories to be a part of Russia and respond to an attack on them in kind.
In what appears to be an escalation of the conflict, Putin and his allies have issued thinly-veiled and even outright threats that Moscow could use a nuclear weapon in Ukraine or the West.
The threats have caused a flurry of activity in the West with Washington asking India and China to pressure Putin not to use the nuclear weapons as well as threating Moscow with a “decisive” response if it does use such a weapon.