The better part of two or more Russian army battalions—potentially 100 vehicles and more than a thousand troops—in recent days tried to cross a pontoon bridge spanning the Siverskyi Donets River, running west to east between the separatist provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine.
Ukrainian artillery caught them at the river bank—and destroyed them. The rapid destruction of around six dozen tanks and other armored vehicles, along with the bridge itself, underscores Russia’s deepening woes as its troops try, and fail, to make meaningful gains in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region.
“We still assess Russian ground force in the Donbas to be slow and uneven,” an unnamed U.S. Defense Department official told reporters on Tuesday.
The Russians’ inability to cross rivers might explain their sloth. To be fair, “conducting river-crossings in a contested environment is a highly risky maneuver,” the U.K. Defense Ministry noted.