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A Disastrous Russian Assault On Vuhledar

As Moscow steps up its offensive in eastern Ukraine, weeks of failed attacks on the Ukrainian stronghold of Vuhledar have left two Russian brigades in tatters, raised questions about the Kremlin’s military tactics and renewed doubts about its ability to maintain major ground assaults. After weeks of fighting, the scale of Moscow’s losses there is only now beginning to come into focus. Russian commanders made basic mistakes, in this case failing to take into account the terrain — open fields littered with antitank mines — or the strength of the Ukrainian forces, a Ukrainian military spokesman said. Two of Russia’s most elite brigades — the 155th and 40th Naval Infantry Brigades — were decimated in Vuhledar, he said. Vuhledar has been used by Ukraine as a base for harassing shipments on an important rail line supplying Russian forces. In one week alone since the clash for the city began, Russia lost at least 130 armored vehicles, including 36 tanks, according to Ukrainian estimates. Fighting for it has come at a cost for Ukraine, too, in terms of casualties and the ammunition it has expended to repel Russian troops. Deployments: In recent weeks, Moscow has rushed tens of thousands more troops, many of them inexperienced new recruits, to the front lines ahead of the anniversary of Russia’s invasion on Feb. 24. Western officials estimate that a large part of Russia’s army is already fighting in Ukraine.

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