The Ukrainian Armed Forces have recently claimed that they have destroyed Russia’s elite 104th Airborne Regiment of the 76th Guards Air Assault Division during a battle that raged for 14 hours. If confirmed, it would be the second time this week that the Russian forces have recorded a massive defeat in Eastern Ukraine.

According to a post by the Ukrainian Armed Forces 80th Assault Brigade on Facebook, the Ukrainian troops intercepted the Russian forces trying to advance through a highway somewhere in the Donbas region.

The post does not specify where exactly in Donbas they fought. Still, it can be hypothesized that the battle happened somewhere along Severodonetsk as fighting has been largely focused in this specific city. Recent reports of the 76th Air Assault Division have also been spotted along the Bakhmut-Lysychansk highway, which may be the highway they are talking about.

“The enemy has not gotten through! Units of the 80th separate paratrooping brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine continue to inflict losses on Russian occupants, fighting them in the eastern direction.”

They claim that Ukrainian paratroopers from Lviv fought the Russians with NLAW anti-tank weapons to destroy Russian armored vehicles and troops and would engage in a rifle fight that would last for 14 hours.

“This fight is near b town [Unidentified town], [fighting] started in the second night when [they went] to the positions of paratroopers, the enemy sabotage group approached. Our boys spotted the saboteurs, and automatic weapon fire forced them to retreat. But, the Rašists didn’t calm down, and a little later, their infantry, reinforced bronetechníko [armored vehicle], went to attack.

The Ukrainian fighters would then destroy a Russian BMD and allegedly wipe out the Russians in the firefight.

“In total, about 50 men of the 104th, so-called, ‘Guardian,’ assault regiment of the 76th assault Warriors of the Pskov division, which in the Russian Armed Forces consider elite,” they claimed.

A destroyed Russian BMD-4M from Russia's 76th Air Assault Division (Rob Lee). Source: https://twitter.com/RALee85/status/1528830727802036228
A destroyed Russian BMD-4M from Russia’s 76th Air Assault Division (Rob Lee/Twitter)

During close contact fighting, the Russian forces and what was left of the regiment allegedly retreated to the wooded areas, leaving them badly wounded and outnumbered at the hands of the Ukrainians.

While the offensive was considered a win for the Ukrainian forces, a senior lieutenant named “Alexander Ch” and a senior soldier named “Oleg D.” were wounded by continued to fight as they refused to retreat to their base. They were reportedly the ones who led the assault.

“The coordinated actions of the artillery units of the 80th brigade, in the end, inflicted a mass artillery strike on the enemy, after which the occupiers still reduced the number of live force and equipment [of the Russians],” the page wrote.

It is remarkable that the page mentioned that they pummelled the Russians with artillery strikes before engaging in a firefight, showing that the Ukrainians may have been given pointers by the United States Armed Forces. It appears as if the Ukrainians were expecting the attacks, and when the Russians broke cover to assault, Ukraine was ready to rain artillery down on them. The post also reveals that they were advancing via a highway, which leaves them highly vulnerable to an airborne attack and artillery shelling.

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By the time Ukrainian forces had reached them with their NLAWs and engaged in a rifle fight, they had already been spotted by Ukrainian UAVs and weakened by the artillery barrage. The Ukrainian Forces are fighting smart and with a huge amount of maturity with the way they fight as opposed to the Russians, who seemingly are just shooting at every Ukrainian they see without really thinking much about it. This also goes to show how severely depleted the Russian forces are already. You’d expect these advancing troops to have some form of reconnaissance drones up in the air or some close air support while fighting, but none of that can be seen here (or elsewhere, for that matter).

Perhaps what is worse for the Russians is that their commander had been killed a week prior. SOFREP reported previously that the commander of the assault battalion of the 104th Guards Airborne Assault Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Dosyagaev, had been killed while fighting in Ukraine.

This report comes after Russia’s 35th Combined Arms Army was destroyed as an effective formation while fighting in Izyum, Kharkiv. The attack allegedly left the 35th Combined Arms Army with less than 100 servicemen to continue fighting, reducing the army to a mere fraction of what it was before. An “Army” in Russia could have 200,000 troops. However, the report included two motor rifle brigades, such as the 64th and 38th Separate Guard Motor Rifle Brigades. These brigades would be comprised of somewhere between 1,600 troops to 2,000 troops.

It is not at all surprising if these reports are confirmed to be true, as the Russian forces are severely depleted in terms of actual soldiers and military supplies due to rampant and systemic corruption. SOFREP reported on a Russian fighter jet squadron receiving crowdfunded, commercially available equipment from Russian civilians, many of which you could find at your local hardware store. Some of these items include Chinese radios, medical supplies, tools, and food. More so, the Russians seem to be struggling with supplying equipment to their Special Operations Forces as well. If the Russian military hardly supplies the most elite units, how can we expect them to arm their infantrymen on the ground?

This is the reason why 5 Russian generals were recently sacked by Putin. These generals worked in the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs, mostly in operations, logistics, and medical supply. It’s widely known that corruption within the Russian military leadership down to its mid-level officers is rampant, with many having the authority to procure items for their forces. Needless to say, these generals have gotten kickbacks from these contracts, with lower-level supply officers stealing and selling off military equipment for their own pockets.

When the war came around, their units were deployed to Ukraine with expired MREs, useless body armor, a small amount of ammunition, and expired first aid kits – in other words, junk. With casualties only going up, with reports of Russian soldiers getting absolutely annihilated, it is completely reasonable to doubt if they have enough firepower to complete their goal of completely “liberating” the Donbas region.