Ukraine won largest tank battle of the war in Vuhledar, NYT reports

2 March, 12:11 AM
Ukrainian military (Photo:REUTERS/Yevhenii Zavhorodnii)

Ukrainian military (Photo:REUTERS/Yevhenii Zavhorodnii)

The three-week battle near Vuhledar, Donetsk Oblast, became the largest tank battle of the war so far and dealt a serious blow to Russian forces, The New York Times reported on March 1.

“In the extended battle, both sides sent tanks into the fray, rumbling over dirt roads and maneuvering around tree lines,” the article reads.

The NYT writes that invading Russian forces moved forward in columns, and the Armed Forces of Ukraine maneuvered in defense, firing from afar or from cover, when the columns of Russians entered their territory.

Video of day

“When it was over, not only had Russia failed to capture Vuhledar, but it also had made the same mistake that cost Moscow hundreds of tanks earlier in the war: advancing columns into ambushes,” the reports said.

Ukrainian drone footage shows hulls of the Russian equipment, blown up by mines, hit by artillery, or destroyed by anti-tank missiles, now strewn across the fields near Vuhledar.

The Armed Forces of Ukraine said Russia lost at least 130 tanks and armored personnel carriers in the battle. Ukrainian losses aren’t being disclosed.

Ukrainian Lt. Vladyslav Bayak said that a column of tanks becomes most vulnerable after the shooting starts, as drivers panic and try to turn around, driving into landmines.

“Blown-up vehicles then act as impediments, slowing or stalling the column,” said Bayak.

“At that point, Ukrainian artillery opens fire, blowing up more armor and killing soldiers who clamber out of disabled machines. A scene of chaos and explosions ensues.”

According to him, Russian commanders sent armored columns forward due to the lack of other options against well-fortified Ukrainian positions, with little regard for how costly the approach is.

The NYT writes that the lack of experience also hurt the Russians, as many of their most elite units were decimated in previous battles, with their ranks filled with untrained newly drafted soldiers.

According to Ukrainian commanders in Vuhledar, Russia had lost so many vehicles over last week that it changed tactics and resorted to mere infantry attacks in the area.

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