Ukrainian forces destroy Russian vehicles and tanks in Donetsk
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Ukrainian artillery reportedly destroyed multiple Russian vehicles including six Uragan Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS) which can fire unguided rockets over a large area causing extreme destruction. The Ukrainian Ministry of Defence posted a harrowing video on Twitter which appeared to show several Russian vehicles taking direct hits from Ukrainian artillery.
In the battle for the Donbas, artillery has become one of the main fighting weapons and has been used to devastating effect by both sides.
As the war drags on Russia has been using artillery more and more broadly to try and force its troops through the Ukrainian lines.
However, Ukraine has used its own artillery, much of it provided by NATO, to try and stem the Russian onslaught. The video reportedly shows the devastation caused by a M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) provided by the United States, although this has not been confirmed.
The Ukraine Ministry of Defence said: “We balance the ratio of artillery. Six MLRS ‘Uragan’, transport vehicles, fuel tanks, fire control vehicles, trucks, armoured personnel carriers that were destroyed by Ukrainian artillery in the Donetsk region. Professionalism against brute force.”
Multiple launch rocket systems are considered particularly brutal as they often use unguided and inaccurate munitions. These “dumb” bombs are thought to have killed scores of civilians during the conflict.
The widespread use of these systems during the conflict has prompted groups like Amnesty International to accuse Moscow of war crimes.
Joanne Mariner, Director of Amnesty International’s Crisis Response Programme said: “A defining feature of these cruel sieges is Russia’s relentless indiscriminate attacks, which cause utterly devastating harm over time.”
Several Russian vehicles are seen being hit with explosive rounds in the video and are completely destroyed. Although it is unclear where the video was taken, Ukrainian officials have confirmed that intense artillery battles are continuing to take place close to the largely destroyed city of Severodonetsk – a key Russian objective.
A key advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Oleksiy Arestovych said fighting continued around the city in a video address over the weekend.
He said: “Our special forces are messing around there, directing our artillery at the enemy. In other words, we cannot say that the troops have been withdrawn completely from Severodonetsk.”
Russian officials claimed that several hundred people could be sheltering in the sprawling Azot chemical plant where many civilians hid as the fighting intensified.
Both Kyiv and Moscow have now confirmed that Ukrainian forces have withdrawn from the city, which was 90 per cent destroyed.
Mayor Oleksand Stryuk said: “The city is now under the full occupation of Russia. They are trying to establish their own order, as far as I know they have appointed some kind of commandant.”
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Ukrainian officials have said that their forces had never intended to hold the city outright but instead made taking it extremely costly for Moscow in preparation for a counterattack.
Now that Ukraine has withdrawn from Severodonetsk, it will likely mount a defence in the nearby city of Lysychansk, across the Siverskyi Donets river.
Russian forces have been devastated while attempting to cross the river in the past, and Ukraine is likely hoping that the natural defence provided by the river will allow their artillery to hit Russian forces as they attempt to cross.
During an attempted crossing last month, Russian forces reportedly lost an entire battalion tactical group – around 70 vehicles and up to 1000 soldiers are said to have perished.
If Ukraine can repeat its earlier successes, there may be some hope of stopping the Russian forces before they can cross to reach Lysychansk.
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