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Ryan Robertson

Anchor, Investigative Reporter

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International

Russia blows up own tank to counter Ukrainian advance

Jun 19, 2023

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Ryan Robertson

Anchor, Investigative Reporter

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Ukraine’s counteroffensive against Russia is entering its third week. The fighting is brutal, but Ukraine is making gains.

Ukrainian armed forces say eight villages are now liberated and around 44 square miles of land recaptured, mostly along three lines of attack in the south and east.

Ukraine’s incremental gains are coming at a heavy cost, though. Russia spent months reinforcing its defensive positions along the nearly 600 miles of frontline. On Sunday, June18, the U.K.’s Ministry of Defense said Russian forces were conducting effective defensive operations in the southern region of Ukraine.

Russia is employing some unique tactics to thwart Ukrainian advances. The most recent example was packing an old tank with around 6 tons of explosives, locking it in gear and sending it toward the Ukrainian lines.

The tank hit a mine before it could reach its target, though. Russia said one of its soldiers remotely detonated the explosives in the tank, destroying the Ukrainian positions. Ukraine hasn’t said if any troops were killed in the attack.

Drone video shows the moment a Russian tank carrying explosives was remotely detonated.
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Russia is having more success in stopping Ukraine’s advances by using more traditional tactics, like artillery and air dominance.

Most of Ukraine’s air defense systems are protecting civilian populations and infrastructure, which is leaving many of the armored columns Ukraine is using to attack Russian positions vulnerable to air attacks. Russia is capitalizing on that advantage by sending in more attack helicopters.

Unable to counter Russian air dominance, at least for now, it’s believed the bulk of Ukraine’s counteroffensive operations are still yet to come. Preparations for the main assault continue though.

On Sunday, the Ukrainian air force destroyed a major Russian ammunition depot deep inside Russian-held territory. Thick plumes of smoke could be seen for miles rising from the building while secondary blasts from exploding ammo stores could also be heard.

Attacking storage depots, supply lines and logistics hubs are key components of Ukraine’s strategy against Russia, and it’s working. Russian weapons suppliers can’t keep up with demand, and wide-scale shortages are becoming the norm. Even President Vladimir Putin acknowledged there were shortages of tanks, drones, missiles, and other weapons which is hurting Russian efforts in the war.

Russia may also be losing its ability to fight at night. Western supplied night vision goggles and thermal imaging sensors are giving Ukraine a huge advantage in nighttime operations.

Business Insider reported Russia lacked many of these high-end capabilities even before the war, and a broke, degraded Russian military certainly doesn’t have the means to change course now. Many of Ukraine’s victories in the counteroffensive came during nighttime operations.

According to a Russian analyst at the Institute for the Study of War, the lack of night vision goggles for average soldiers is just the latest evidence of Russian troops being ill-equipped and ill-prepared for battle.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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UKRAINE’S COUNTEROFFENSIVE AGAINST RUSSIA IS ENTERING ITS THIRD WEEK. THE FIGHTING IS BRUTAL, BUT UKRAINE IS MAKING GAINS.

UKRAINIAN ARMED FORCES SAY EIGHT VILLAGES ARE NOW LIBERATED AND AROUND 44 SQUARE MILES OF LAND RECAPTURED, MOSTLY ALONG THREE LINES OF ATTACK IN THE SOUTH AND EAST.

UKRAINE’S INCREMENTAL GAINS ARE COMING AT A HEAVY COST, THOUGH. RUSSIA SPENT MONTHS REINFORCING ITS DEFENSIVE POSITIONS ALONG THE NEARLY 600 MILES OF FRONTLINE. THE UK’S MINISTRY OF DEFENSE SAID RUSSIAN FORCES ARE CONDUCTING EFFECTIVE DEFENSIVE OPERATIONS IN THE SOUTHERN REGION OF UKRAINE, LIMITING THE GAINS UKRAINE IS MAKING.

RUSSIA IS EMPLOYING SOME UNIQUE TACTICS TO THWART UKRAINIAN ADVANCES. THE MOST RECENT EXAMPLE WAS PACKING AN OLD TANK WITH AROUND 5 TONS OF EXPLOSIVES, LOCKING IT IN GEAR AND SENDING IT TOWARD THE UKRAINIAN LINES. THE TANK HIT A MINE BEFORE IT COULD REACH ITS TARGET THOUGH. RUSSIA SAID ONE OF ITS SOLDIERS REMOTELY DETONATED THE EXPLOSIVES IN THE TANK, DESTROYING THE UKRAINIAN POSITIONS. UKRAINE HASN’T SAID IF ANY TROOPS WERE KILLED IN THE ATTACK.

RUSSIA IS HAVING MORE SUCCESS IN STOPPING UKRAINE’S ADVANCES BY USING MORE TRADITIONAL TACTICS, LIKE ARTILLERY AND AIR DOMINANCE. MOST OF UKRAINE’S AIR DEFENSE SYSTEMS ARE PROTECTING CIVILIAN POPULATIONS AND INFRASTRUCTURE, WHICH IS LEAVING MANY OF THE ARMORED COLUMNS UKRAINE IS USING TO ATTACK RUSSIAN POSITIONS VULNERABLE TO AIR ATTACKS. RUSSIA IS CAPITALIZING ON THAT ADVANTAGE BY SENDING IN MORE ATTACK HELICOPTERS.

UNABLE TO COUNTER RUSSIAN AIR DOMINANCE, AT LEAST FOR NOW, IT’S BELIEVED THE BULK OF UKRAINE’S COUNTEROFFENSIVE OPERATIONS ARE STILL YET TO COME. PREPARATIONS FOR THE MAIN ASSAULT CONTINUE THOUGH.

ON SUNDAY, THE UKRAINIAN AIR FORCE DESTROYED A MAJOR RUSSIAN AMMUNITION DEPOT DEEP INSIDE RUSSIAN-HELD TERRITORY. THICK PLUMES OF SMOKE COULD BE SEEN FOR MILES RISING FROM THE BUILDING WHILE SECONDARY BLASTS FROM EXPLODING AMMO STORES COULD ALSO BE HEARD.

ATTACKING STORAGE DEPOTS, SUPPLY LINES AND LOGISTICS HUBS IS A KEY COMPONENT OF UKRAINE’S STRATEGY AGAINST RUSSIA. AND IT’S WORKING. RUSSIAN WEAPONS SUPPLIERS CAN’T KEEP UP WITH DEMAND, AND WIDE-SCALE SHORTAGES ARE BECOMING THE NORM. EVEN VLADIMIR PUTIN ACKNOWLEDGED THERE WERE SHORTAGES OF TANKS, DRONES, MISSILES AND OTHER WEAPONS WHICH IS HURTING RUSSIAN EFFORTS IN THE WAR.

RUSSIA MAY ALSO BE LOSING ITS ABILITY TO FIGHT AT NIGHT. WESTERN SUPPLIED NIGHTVISION GOGGLES AND THERMAL IMAGING SENSORS ARE GIVING UKRAINE A HUGE ADVANTAGE IN NIGHTTIME OPERATIONS. RUSSIA LACKED MANY OF THESE HIGH-END CAPABILITIES EVEN BEFORE THE WAR, AND A BROKE, DEGRADED RUSSIAN MILITARY CERTAINLY DOESN’T HAVE THE MEANS TO CHANGE COURSE NOW. MANY OF UKRAINE’S VICTORIES IN THE COUNTEROFFENSIVE CAME DURING NIGHTTIME OPERATIONS.

ACCORDING TO A RUSSIAN ANALYST AT THE INSTITUTE FOR THE STUDY OF WAR, THE LACK OF NIGHTVISION GOGGLES FOR AVERAGE SOLDIERS IS JUST THE LATEST EVIDENCE OF RUSSIAN TROOPS BEING ILL-EQUIPPED AND ILL-PREPARED FOR BATTLE.

FOR MORE UNBIASED, STRAIGHT FACT REPORTING ON THE WAR IN UKRAINE, BE SURE TO CHECKOUT STRAIGHT ARROW NEWS DOT COM.