Ukrainian officials reported the destruction of a Russian “Tiger” vehicle, among other targets, in a report detailing the escalating conflict in a key region.
The Zaporizhzhia region is the second southernmost of the four regions that Russia claimed to have annexed in September. On Friday, Vladimir Rogov, the Russia-installed leader of Zaporizhzhia, reported that the conflict in the region had begun to escalate, with Russian forces capturing a village roughly 50 kilometers away from the capital city, which is controlled by Ukrainian forces and deploying tanks, mortars, and artillery fire to pursue control of other villages.
In a post to its official Facebook page on Monday, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Army offered its own updated report on the conflict in Zaporizhzhia, noting numerous casualties on the part of the invaders and lost pieces of hardware, including a GAZ Tigr armored vehicle, better known as a “Tiger.”
“Russian occupants continue to die blamelessly in Ukraine,” the post explained, as translated using an online application. “During January 20-21, the enemy carried out offensive actions in the Zaporizhzhia direction near Mali Cherbakov. According to clarified data, as a result of the combat with the Defense Forces units, the loss of invaders in this period amounted to more than 50 people…In addition, 9 units of weapons and military equipment of different types were destroyed (tank, 6 BMP units and an armored car ‘Tiger’). Another 4 units have been damaged.”
The report also claimed that Russian forces are facing mounted losses in the other annexed regions, which it referred to as “temporarily occupied.” In Kherson, which borders Zaporizhzhia to the southwest, the General Staff claimed that local hospitals are being overwhelmed with injured Russian soldiers, with only a small amount being shipped to Crimea for treatment.
“Since the beginning of January this year, the number of wounded enemy soldiers in the temporarily occupied part of the Kherson region has increased significantly,” the report added. “The local hospitals are overwhelmed. All seriously injured are concentrated in medical facilities in the region. Only a small number are sent to the temporarily occupied Crimea for further treatment.”
The report also added that Russian forces are attempting to isolate the local populations in Severodonetsk, part of the annexed Luhansk region. To accomplish this, they are reportedly working to block access to “Ukrainian television and mobile networks.”
When reached for comment by Newsweek, Daniel Davis, a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army and military expert for the Defense Priorities think-tank, said that it is difficult to determine at this stage if either side of the conflict has the upper hand, but that Russia also possesses a tactical advantage in the eastern parts of the annexed regions.
“The Russians have been trying to crack the Seversk/Soledar/Bahkmut line since mid-July and finally captured Soledar last week,” Davis wrote to Newsweek. “Taking the center city in that line puts Seversk and Bahkmut at greater risk, as Russian troops can now hit both settlements from three sides each, and now has the ability to bring the supply lines to the west under direct fire from tanks or indirect fire from artillery. It’s not clear that Ukraine will be able to hold Bahkmut much longer, but it’s also impossible to know how much more striking power the Wagner Group (designated as the main Russian effort for this fight) has. They expended considerable resources and personnel to take Soledar.
“Russia has also been conducting some small-scale offensive operations of late near Zaporizhzhia and has reportedly captured three or four small settlements from Ukraine. How large this move might become in the near term (or if this is a shaping operation for the reported winter offensive) will become clearer in the coming two or three weeks.”
Newsweek reached out to Russian officials for comment.
Updated 01/23/2022, 3:45 p.m. ET: This article was updated with quotes from military expert Daniel Davis.