Ukrainian Town Of Voznesensk Boldly Stops Local Russian Invasion

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Although successes for the Ukrainians in their war with Russian invaders haven’t come without devastating losses for the country’s population, that doesn’t mean that these successes haven’t emerged. A new report from The Wall Street Journal spotlights the Ukrainian tactical victories around the town of Voznesensk, which the report cites as the location of “one of the most comprehensive routs President Vladimir Putin’s forces have suffered since he ordered the invasion of Ukraine.” Taking over the town would have helped Russian forces access a nuclear power plant and the larger nearby jurisdiction of Odesa — but, the Journal explains: “Judging from the destroyed and abandoned armor, Ukrainian forces, which comprised local volunteers and the professional military, eliminated most of a Russian battalion tactical group on March 2 and 3.”

As Voznesensk’s 32-year-old mayor, Yevheni Velichko, explained it: “Everyone is united against the common enemy… We are defending our own land. We are at home.” And Vadym Dombrovsky, who is a commander of the Ukrainian special-forces reconnaissance group in the area and resident of the town, added: “We didn’t have a single tank against them, just rocket-propelled grenades, Javelin missiles and the help of artillery… The Russians didn’t expect us to be so strong. It was a surprise for them. If they had taken Voznesensk, they would have cut off the whole south of Ukraine.” Losses for the Russian troops in the area appear to have been steep: “nearly 30 of their 43 vehicles—tanks, armored personnel carriers, multiple-rocket launchers, trucks—as well as a downed Mi-24 attack helicopter,” the Journal says, based on reports from local officials, and somewhere around 100 Russian soldiers are also estimated to have died in the battle over the city, which involved some 400 Russians overall.

Additionally, Russian personnel “retreated more than 40 miles to the southeast, where other Ukrainian units have continued pounding them,” the Journal adds — so it appears to have been a resounding tactical loss for Putin’s invaders. Amid the actual battle, the Journal recounts that “Russian troops in two Ural trucks were preparing to assemble and set up 120mm mortars on the wheat field [which overlooks the city], but they got only as far as unloading the ammunition before Ukrainian shelling began.” Mykola Rudenko, a local officer with the Territorial Defense force, “took cover in a grove on the wheat field’s edge under pouring rain [on March 2]. The Russian tanks there would fire into Voznesensk and immediately drive a few hundred yards away to escape return fire, he said,” the Journal explains. “Mr. Rudenko was on the phone with a Ukrainian artillery unit. Sending coordinates via the Viber social-messaging app, he directed artillery fire at the Russians. So did other local Territorial Defense volunteers around the city,” according to the publication’s reporting. And eventually, Ukrainian defenders won, keeping Voznesensk on their side.

Ukrainians claim to have inflicted heavy losses on Russia, in terms of both personnel and equipment — and the lagging pace of Russian strategic advances seems to essentially confirm the Ukrainian defense’s strength. It’s been weeks, and Putin’s forces have not even encircled the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv — although attacks have nevertheless been continuing there. According to Ukrinform, a government-backed news outlet in Ukraine, “Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has promised to provide Russia with 40,000 fighters for the war in Ukraine” — although there have apparently been morale problems with those prospective combatants. Syrian recruits have been disillusioned by learning of Russian plans to embed them in combat rather than sticking to policing, and the arrival at a Russian base in Syria of personnel who’d been wounded in Ukraine has also been noticed by Syrians moving towards fighting in the war.