A Ukrainian army officer revealed on Twitter how his team destroyed a Russian pontoon bridge a couple of days ago, defeating Russian troops’ attempts to cross the Siverskyi Donets River that runs between Donetsk and Luhansk provinces.
“Gunners from the 17th tank brigade of the #UAarmy have opened the holiday season to [Russian forces],” the Ministry said on Twitterr on Wednesday, sharing images that appear to show a devastated pontoon bridge and destroyed or damaged vehicles. “Some bathed in the Siverskyi Donets River, and others were burned by the May sun.”
Ukrainian authorities said the 80th Separate Assault Brigade had destroyed all attempts by Russian troops to cross the river, a key obstacle to Russian troops hoping to reach Ukrainian-defended territories in the east.
A man identified only as Maxim, who said he is a military engineer and a member of Ukraine’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team, claimed on Twitter that he was one of the officers who coordinated the attack.
He said he was among the experts sent to do an engineering reconnaissance on the Siverskyi Donets River on May 7-8 ahead of a possible crossing by Russian troops.
Russian forces had gathered across the river from the Bilohorivka settlement, according to Maxim’s tweet. So he headed to the area surrounding the settlement and the nearby town of Hryhorivka to assess where Russian troops might try to set up a pontoon bridge and cross the river.
Maxim said he evaluated that the Russian troops would have needed at least 8 pieces to complete a floating bridge capable of crossing the river over 260 feet wide, and that it would take them at least two hours of work to do so.
He reported this information to his commanding officers, adding that the troops should be on the lookout for the sound of a motorized boat, which he assessed the Russian troops would need to use to mount the pontoon bridge.
“Visibility was shit in the area because the Russians set fire to fields and forests, and threw a lot of smoke grenades. On top of that, there was fog,” Maxim wrote on Twitter in his account of the incident.
“They had to listen to the sound. And they did it early in the morning on May 8. Right in the place I said.”
Maxim said he was able to see the Russians climbing onto the pontoon bridge with his drone.
“The artillery was ready,” Maxim wrote. Ukrainian troops were able to confirm that the Russians had assembled seven parts of the bridge out of a total of eight, as the officer had predicted.
“The Russians even managed to move some troops and vehicles over the river. Fighting started,” Maxim wrote, adding that he had never seen such intense combat in his life.
The bridge had collapsed on May 9, according to the Ukrainian official, leaving 30 to 50 Russian vehicles and infantry trapped on the Ukrainian side of the river with “no turning back.” His estimates were confirmed by ukrainian armed forcesalthough the claims have not been independently verified or reported by Russia.
Max then said that Ukrainian aviation began to bombard the area, destroying all “the remains of the Russians there and the other bridge they tried to make.”
The officer wrote that unverified rumors suggest that 1,500 Russian soldiers perished during the Ukrainian counterattack, an unverified claim that has been mentioned in a report on the attack by Forbes. Russian authorities have not confirmed the number of Russian soldiers injured or killed during the incident, but news week has contacted the Defense Ministry for comment.
The bridge was completely denounced down on may 10.
Images and drone footage of the destroyed bridge were distributed on social media by the Ukrainian armed forces.
“Their strategic objective was to cross the river and then encircle Lysychansk. They failed miserably,” Maxim wrote, saying the mission “had a huge impact on Russian losses and completely ruined their plans to encircle Lysychansk.”