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23 Aug, 2023 11:40

‘Powerful’ Ukrainian brigade loses US-made demining vehicles – Forbes

The vehicles’ Stryker-type armor may not be suitable in a combat environment, the outlet’s report suggests
‘Powerful’ Ukrainian brigade loses US-made demining vehicles – Forbes

A Ukrainian brigade, which Forbes magazine had described as Kiev’s “most powerful unit” at the front lines, has lost 10% of its valuable mine-clearing vehicles just a week since joining the push against Russian defense lines, the outlet has reported.

The 2,000-soldier 82nd Air Assault Brigade, which is armed with four British-made Challenger 2 tanks, 40 German-made tracked Marder infantry fighting vehicles and 90 wheeled Stryker infantry fighting vehicles, had been kept in reserve until last week. It has since “written off” at least two of its 20 or so M1132 Engineer Squad Vehicles, Forbes reported on Tuesday.

The M1132 is a variant of the Stryker vehicle, which is equipped with mine rollers and is meant to clear a path through a minefield for advancing forces. The loss was hardly surprising, the report suggested, considering the role of the armor and its relatively weak protection.

Normally, minefield-breaching vehicles have the chassis of a tank. The M1132, though better suited for transportation by air, is vulnerable to enemy fire and should ideally be used in surprise assaults where there is little resistance, Forbes writer David Axe explained.

The report is based on images of the destroyed vehicles circulating online. The publication noted that it was unclear how exactly they were neutralized or whether their crews had survived. The “good news,” Axe noted, is that the US Army “has hundreds more Strykers in storage” and can supply more to Ukraine.

The 82nd was deployed to the front line in the contested Zaporozhye Region and is involved in Ukraine’s push towards the village of Rabotino, which lately has seen some intensive fighting.

Kiev has rebuked media coverage of the maneuver. Deputy Defense Minister Anna Malyar declared on Monday that “the price of the headlines” of such published articles was “five airstrikes a day” targeting the brigade. She also threatened criminal prosecution for disclosing information about movements of Ukrainian troops.

Evgeny Balitsky, the Russian official who is serving as acting head of the region, reported on Tuesday that, in ten days, Kiev had lost some 1,500 troops and “countless military vehicles” in the area.

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