A group of Bradley fighting vehicles backed by German-made Leopard tanks came under fire on Thursday, as Ukraine‘s 47th Brigade launched an offensive southeast of Zaporizhzhia — part of a fresh bid to claw back some territory from Russia.
Drone footage of the ambush, shared on Russian propaganda channels, showed several vehicles hit.
A group of Ukrainian soldiers taking a break from the fighting just outside the small town of Orikhiv, in the southern region of Zaporizhzhia, told AFP they had lost most of their Bradleys.
Of nine vehicles attached to the group’s mechanised infantry unit — not the only one involved in the battle — six were wrecked, three damaged but reparable, and one was unscathed.
The group said Russian forces had been forewarned, having taunted the Ukrainians the night before the battle over their radios, and they suspected someone had leaked information.
Asked whether they had captured any ground despite coming under such heavy fire, one of the soldiers held up his finger and thumb in a gesture to indicate very small progress.
“When our Bradleys are repaired, we’ll be right back at them,” another said.
No casualty figure has been released, but AFP was told that the number was less than some initially feared, as the vehicles had provided protection even after being disabled.
“Who would be happy receiving those orders, ‘Go and take those Russian positions which are well protected’?” a senior officer, who asked not to be identified, said.
“But we still have that fury, we’ve no choice but to succeed.”
On Saturday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky confirmed that “counteroffensive and defensive actions” are underway along the frontline with Russia’s invasion force.
But Kyiv has provided few details of its strategy. The 47th Brigade is one of the newly-formed units created ahead of the counteroffensive, equipped with Western-supplied equipment.