Ukraine kills 130 Russian soldiers in single day in southern push

File: Ukrainian servicemen ride atop an armoured personnel carrier vehicle (APC) in the Zaporizhzhia region (AFP via Getty Images)
File: Ukrainian servicemen ride atop an armoured personnel carrier vehicle (APC) in the Zaporizhzhia region (AFP via Getty Images)

More than 300 of Vladimir Putin’s soldiers have been killed and wounded in a span of 24 hours in Zaporizhzhia’s oblast, Ukraine’s armed forces said in a battlefield update on Wednesday.

Ukrainian commander general Oleksandr Tarnavskyi said the Russian forces attacked Ukrainian positions 18 times with 830 attacks, one rocket and 23 air strikes in the past day. In retaliation, the artillery units under him launched 1,232 fire missions during the day.

The fierce fighting update came from Tavriia village in Zaporizhzhia oblast where Russian forces and Ukrainian troops have been engaged in a grinding battle since the invasion began in February last year.

“Over the last day, the enemy lost 325 people – 130 irretrievably injured, 194 wounded, 1 captured,” the commander of the Tavriia operational and strategic group of forces said on his official Telegram channel.

The top military official of the unit said his unit destroyed 48 pieces of Russian military equipment.

“Among them are three tanks, eight armoured combat vehicles, seven artillery systems and mortars, one multiple-launch rocket system, 14 UAVs, and 15 pieces of vehicles,” he said.

One ammunition depot and another strategic object belonging to the Russians was also destroyed, the commander said.

On Wednesday, the Ukrainian general staff said the country’s forces continued their offensive operations and inflicted significant losses on Russia’s manpower and equipment in the Melitopol direction but did not state a tally of casualties and losses mounted.

Experts monitoring the war have said Russia’s losses in the western Zaporizhzia oblast have significantly shot up. This is heightened by the Russian military’s likely struggles with a “lack of available combat-effective units that the Russian command is willing to laterally redeploy to this sector of the front”, the US-based Institute for the Study of War said.

The loss of Russian troops recorded on Tuesday is “significantly higher than Russian losses during the previous two days when Russian forces lost roughly 200 personnel each day”, according to the Tavriisk Group of Forces spokesperson, colonel Oleksandr Shtupun.

Russia deployed its elite airborne unit (VDV) forces in Zaporizhzhia, a strategic territory in the war housing Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant.

But the spokesperson added that Russia is sending convict recruits named “Storm-Z” detachments which will act as “cover” for the elite troops, “possibly referring to the need to cover the VDV units during a potential withdrawal”, the US-based think-tank said.