Britain’s Defense Ministry said that Russia lost “significant armored maneuver elements” of at least one battalion tactical group as well as equipment used to deploy the makeshift floating bridge. “Conducting river crossings in a contested environment is a highly risky maneuver and speaks to the pressure the Russian commanders are under to make progress in their operations in eastern Ukraine,” the ministry said in its daily intelligence update.
Russia suffered heavy losses when Ukrainian forces destroyed the pontoon bridge enemy troops were using to try to cross a river in the east, Ukrainian and British officials said in another sign of Moscow’s struggle to salvage a war gone awry, AP reports.
Ukrainian authorities, meanwhile, opened the first war crimes trial of the conflict. The defendant, a captured Russian soldier, stands accused of shooting to death a 62-year-old civilian in the early days of the war.
The trial got underway as Russia’s offensive in the Donbas, Ukraine’s eastern industrial heartland, seemed to turn increasingly into a grinding war of attrition.
Ukraine’s airborne command released photos and video of what it said was a damaged Russian pontoon bridge over the Siversky Donets River and several destroyed or damaged Russian military vehicles nearby.
Ukrainian news reports said troops thwarted an attempt by Russian forces to cross the river earlier this week, leaving dozens of tanks and other military vehicles damaged or abandoned. The command said its troops “drowned the Russian occupiers.”
© Copyright LaPresse