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16 Jul, 2023 18:47

Russian forces have knocked out one-third of Ukraine’s Bradleys – media

At least 34 US-supplied armored fighting vehicles have reportedly been put of action during Kiev’s counteroffensive
Russian forces have knocked out one-third of Ukraine’s Bradleys – media

The vaunted Bradley Fighting Vehicle (BFV), which was touted as a potential “game-changer” when Washington agreed to give dozens of the machines to Ukraine earlier this year, has reportedly had trouble staying in action amid fierce resistance from Russian forces during Kiev’s counteroffensive.

At least 34 Bradleys “have now been visually confirmed as having been abandoned, damaged or destroyed,” Business Insider reported on Saturday, citing “open-source” data from military research firm Oryx. The US has supplied as many as 109 BFVs to Ukraine, the outlet added, and they were first deployed on the battlefield in April.

Most of the losses occurred during the early days of the counteroffensive, which began last month, as Ukrainian forces tried to cross territory that was heavily mined by Russian troops, Business Insider said. The latest loss estimate was similar to that in a report on Saturday by the New York Times, which said Ukraine’s NATO-trained 47th Mechanized Brigade had lost 30% of its Bradleys in just two weeks.

The BFV is a tracked and lightly armored vehicle with the capability to transport about ten soldiers and mount weaponry such as a 25mm cannon and a TOW anti-tank missile launcher.

When the administration of President Joe Biden agreed in January to send BFVs to Kiev, the Pentagon touted the vehicles as “tank-killers” and claimed they would provide “a level of firepower and armor that will bring advantages on the battlefield.” US media outlets such as Newsweek cited military experts as saying the Bradleys “could become a game-changer,” potentially even enabling Ukraine to retake Crimea. Russian officials warned that the BFVs and other Western-supplied weaponry would “only prolong the suffering of the Ukrainian people.”

With dozens of Bradleys and other hardware being knocked out of action by Russian forces, Ukrainian units have been forced to abandon their armored vehicles and advance slowly on foot, the Washington Post reported on Saturday. “You can no longer do anything with just a tank with some armor because the minefield is too deep, and sooner or later, it will stop, and then it will be destroyed by concentrated fire,” Ukraine’s top general, Valery Zaluzhny, told the newspaper.

Nevertheless, a new $800 military aid package for Ukraine announced by the Biden administration earlier this month includes an additional 32 BFVs. The US also agreed to send cluster bombs to Kiev, citing disappointment with the counteroffensive.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that US shipments of cluster munitions to Ukraine would constitute a war crime. As for captured Western weaponry, such as BFVs, Russian specialists will use “reverse engineering” to adopt any military technology that might be useful to Moscow, Putin said in an interview aired on Sunday.