Friday, October 6, 2023

Inside UKRaine’s Fight to Retake Bakhmut: ‘The Ground Was Covered in Bodies’; Drunk, Unruly RUssian Troops Sent to Die on Front Lines; UKR Downs 29 oF 31 Shahed Drones Launched by RU; UKR Aviation of Defence Forces Carries Out 17 Strikes on RU Targets Over 24hrs, LIVE UPDATES and MORE

3rd Assault Brigade/Associated Press
WSJ: Inside Ukraine’s Fight to Retake Bakhmut: ‘The Ground Was Covered in Bodies’:
As the squad of Ukrainian soldiers crept along the tree line toward the Russian bunker, artillery fire sent their enemies scrambling for cover. This was the chance they had been waiting for.
A soldier nicknamed Sniper sprinted forward and tossed a grenade into the tunnels where the Russians were sheltering. It exploded, sending smoke billowing. The Russian soldiers rushed out and Ukrainian forces hit them with mortars. Soon after, Ukraine took the position and then the entire road.
Previous waves of Ukrainian troops and several strikes with explosive drones had failed to dislodge the Russians from a bend in the road near the tiny village of Andriivka in the country’s east. The Ukrainians had taken heavy casualties.
But Sniper’s assault helped tip the course of the battle in Ukraine’s favor. Two weeks later, Ukraine’s 3rd Assault Brigade seized Andriivka. Then other Ukrainian units took the neighboring village.
The victories gave Ukrainian forces control of high ground south of Bakhmut, which Russia seized in May after the longest and bloodiest battle of the war. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has made retaking the city—Russia’s only significant gain in the past year of fighting—a key military goal for this year. With the main thrust of the counteroffensive in the southeast making slow progress, a victory in Bakhmut would bolster morale at home and provide allies abroad with evidence that Ukraine can win back lost ground.
Some U.S. officials and military analysts question the wisdom of expending valuable troops and equipment on a shattered city of little strategic value. Ukraine would be better served, they say, concentrating forces in the southeast, where its army is seeking a breakthrough.
But Ukraine is pressing ahead here, aiming to show progress to doubters at home and in Washington. Advocates of the approach say it also pins down Russian troops where their defenses, while formidable, are weaker.
“By conducting a secondary effort in Bakhmut, the Ukrainians have managed to fix multiple Russian divisions,” said Jack Keane, a retired U.S. Army four-star general who now serves as the chairman of the Institute for the Study of War. --->READ MORE HERE
NY POST: Drunk, unruly Russian troops sent to die on front lines in punishment squads: report:
Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine who are caught drinking or being insubordinate are forced into “Storm-Z” punishment squads and sent to the most dangerous parts of the front lines to face likely death, according to a new report.
At least five of these penal battalions, staffed by ex-convicts and noncompliant troops, were thrown into some of the heaviest fighting in a bid to repel Kyiv’s counteroffensive in eastern and southern Ukraine this summer, reported Reuters Tuesday, citing interviews with 13 people familiar with the matter.
“Storm fighters, they’re just meat,” said one regular soldier from army unit no. 40318 who was deployed near Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine in May and June.
He said he had given medical treatment to a group of six or seven wounded “Storm-Z” fighters on the battlefield, disobeying an order from a commander to ditch the injured, which he said was in line with the officers’ general attitude towards punishment squad members.
“If the commandants catch anyone with the smell of alcohol on their breath, then they immediately send them to the Storm squads,” claimed the soldier, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals in Russia.
Russian state-controlled media outlets have reported on “Storm-Z” squads and their participation in fierce battles — but Reuters’ investigation, which includes interviews with five fighters in the units, all speaking to the agency anonymously, offers the first glimpse into how the units are formed and used on the battlefield.
The “Storm-Z” squads — reminiscent of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin’s World War II-era punishment squads — are each comprised of about 100-150 fighters and embedded within regular army units. They have typically been sent to the most vulnerable sections of the front, resulting in heavy casualties.
One soldier, who was recruited from prison where he was serving time on a theft conviction, told Reuters that 105 of the 120 men in his “Storm-Z” unit embedded with the 237th regiment were killed or wounded in fighting near Bakhmut in June.
The penal squads, which, unlike the privately owned Wagner mercenary group, fall under the direct control of Russia’s defense ministry, combine convicts who volunteer to fight in exchange for the promise of a pardon with regular soldiers being punished for drinking and other infractions, the people interviewed said. --->READ MORE HERE
Follow links below to +++++relevant+++++ and related stories:

+++++Russia-Ukraine News LATEST UPDATES: (REUTERS) (AP) (NY POST) and (WSJ)+++++

+++++Ukrainian military downs 29 Shahed drones out of 31 launched by Russia – air force +++++

+++++Aviation of Defence Forces carries out 17 strikes on Russian targets over 24 hours – General Staff report+++++

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