A series of combat videos, published on Monday by a frontline Ukrainian drone unit, documented a Russian armored assault going horribly bad, with multiple tanks blowing themselves up in an obvious minefield and drones dropping anti-personnel grenades on Russian infantrymen huddling in shell craters.
A total of more than six minutes of edited footage was made public by the drone unit of the strike air reconnaissance unit of the Armed Forces of Ukraine’s (AFU) 30th Separate Mechanized Brigade.
Kyiv Post was able to confirm the drone section’s long-term association with the brigade and geolocated the images to a battlefield in the north-eastern Kharkiv sector, close to the Ukrainian-controlled town of Kupyansk.
One of the videos, was first published in a shorter version on Dec. 29 by both the 14th Mechanized and 30th Separate Mechanized Brigades. It shows a Russian ground attack with combat vehicles including a mine-clearing tank, a late-model T-72BV tank, and two armored personnel carriers advancing across open ground after exiting a tree line.
The mine-clearing tank detonates a visible anti-tank mine and is destroyed, which stalls the three combat vehicles following it. Russian infantry then debusses from a pair of BMP armored personnel carriers and take cover in a trench network adjacent to the anti-tank minefield.
In a subsequent video edit a Ukrainian FPV drone is seen to set one of the BMPs on fire, while the second tank and second BMP, attempt to drive out of the ambush area under Ukrainian autocannon or heavy machine gun fire, and return the way they came.
Both combat vehicles pass near the destroyed mine-clearing tank and hit mines themselves. Both are blown up, the second tank catastrophically in what is probably a detonation of its on-board ammunition.
As surviving Russian crewmen abandon their combat vehicles and attempt to take cover, a Ukrainian 155mm cluster munition strike falls precisely on them, delivering explosions and lethal fragmentation onto the ambush site.
Aside from the Russian heavy weapons losses confirmed in the video, the hulks of two more tanks and four more armored personnel carriers can be seen in the area. Kyiv Post was unable to determine whether the already knocked-out vehicles were Russian or Ukrainian.
The AFU’s 14th Mechanized Brigade is a longstanding combat formation based in peacetime in Ukraine’s western Volyn region. The AFU’s 30th Brigade, drawn from Ukraine’s north-central Zhytomyr region, is a veteran outfit with extensive combat experience including the 2022 Battle of the Siviersky Donets river crossings and the 2023 Battle of Bakhmut.
Other video published by the 30th showed more than 20 Russian infantrymen, some wounded, sheltering in shallow trenches and shell craters adjacent to the ambush site. Grenades dropped by drones hit Russian soldiers directly, in some instances landing in fighters’ laps, leaving uniforms and body armor smoking.
Some combat images were backed with the song “I am Russian!” a popular, widely-played, hard right-nationalist, pro-Moscow number performed by the Kremlin-favored pop singer Yaroslav Dronov.
In one horrific series of images a Ukrainian drone drops an munition on a Russian soldier, the explosion amputating his leg below the knee.
The Russian pop tune Nogi-Nogi (Legs, Legs), a 2000s-era single composed and performed by the Moscow band Diskoteka Avariya to celebrate female beauty, was selected by Ukrainian video editors as background music for the shocking battle images.
In a separate, undated, video recorded around the same time, judging by the similar weather conditions, a small civilian drone converted by Ukrainian mechanics to carry explosives hunts down and hits a Russian soldier attempting to escape the battlefield aboard a quadbike. Other images show Ukrainian drones hunting down and dropping explosives on individual, wounded Russian soldiers.
Kyiv Post was unable to confirm the location and recording date of those videos.
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