According to The Washington Post, Ukrainian forces are reportedly abandoning their battle tanks and infantry combat vehicles, gifts from Western allies, and are progressing cautiously on foot.
General Valery Zaluzhny, Ukraine’s commander-in-chief, explained to The Post, “A mere tank with some armor can no longer be effective because the minefield is too extensive and, sooner or later, it will halt and then be obliterated by focused fire.”
These minefields have spotlighted the drawbacks of the Western-supplied armor Ukraine had long been soliciting to aid in its mission to reclaim territory seized by Russia. The report noted that while the vehicles are resilient and typically result in only minor injuries to the soldiers within, they have failed to breach Russia’s defenses singlehandedly.
Open-source data indicates that roughly one-third of the Bradley armored vehicles the US shipped to Ukraine are now incapacitated.
Zaluzhny suggested that Ukraine needs advanced fighter jets like the US-manufactured F-16 to bolster its ground capabilities.
Ukrainian officials have also been urging their Western allies for more mine-clearance equipment, asserting they’ve received less than 15 percent of the demining and engineering gear they sought before the counteroffensive.
Ukraine employs the M58 Mine Clearing Line Charge (MICLIC) systems provided by the US, which Zaluzhny admitted are also being destroyed, as per The Post. He added, “There’s nothing wrong with that. We require a lot of them.”
According to The Post, US officials indicated that Washington is exploring options to supply more of this system and the charges it uses.
According to The Post, to conserve their limited mine-clearing systems, they have resorted to manually disarming mines, often utilizing small groups of soldiers who crawl on the ground to identify the mines themselves.
Adding to the challenges of Ukraine’s clearance initiatives, Russian forces continue to deploy more mines onto areas already cleared by Ukrainians aerially.
Ukrainian soldiers shared with The Post that the protracted buildup to the counteroffensive allowed the Russians ample time to fortify their defenses, enabling them to establish dense minefields three to ten miles deep in front of their crucial strongholds.
These minefields have become significant obstacles along the southern Zaporizhzhia front line. Anticipating an attack by Ukraine aimed at severing the land connecting Crimea, which Russia annexed illegally in 2014, Russia had prepared accordingly.
Retired US Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt observed that penetrating Russia’s defenses – a network of trenches, anti-tank traps, minefields, and barbed wire – was akin to navigating through “20 kilometers of hell,” as Insider previously reported.
In its counteroffensive, Ukraine has achieved only marginal gains so far. Ukrainian President Zelenskyy has confessed that progress has been “slower than desired.”