Ukraine’s 47th Mechanized Brigade Releases Footage of Russian Attack Column Hit by Artillery Strikes

Avdiivka, Ukraine – November 2, 2023 – Ukraine’s 47th Mechanized Brigade has released striking video footage revealing the intense battle that unfolded in the Avdiivka sector of the country’s eastern Donbas region. The footage captures a Russian attack column, comprised of tanks and armored personnel carriers, coming under heavy artillery strikes during a failed assault. This incident sheds light on the ongoing conflict in the region, where Ukraine has been defending its territory since Russia’s attempts to annex it in 2014.

The video showcases a Russian assault column led by mine-clearing vehicles and closely followed by at least fifteen armored personnel carriers. However, the Russian forces encountered their first setback when one of their tanks attempted to pass through a wooded area, triggering anti-tank landmines that caused substantial damage.

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The Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) swiftly responded to the attack, launching a counteroffensive with artillery and anti-tank missiles. This response inflicted further losses on the Russian column, forcing them to retreat. The video recording is reported to be from mid-October and provides a glimpse into the ongoing hostilities in the Avdiivka sector.

Avdiivka, a critical Ukrainian stronghold, has remained in Ukrainian hands despite continuous attempts by Russia to gain control of the region since 2014. The city is situated north of Donetsk, a location that has witnessed intense fighting in recent weeks, suggesting Russia’s determination to secure a symbolic victory by capturing the area.

The Kremlin initiated a significant offensive in the Avdiivka sector between October 10 and 12. Earlier reports by the Kyiv Post outlined the initial Russian losses in the campaign. General Zaluzhny, commenting on the Avdiivka battle, revealed that he witnessed live video footage showing 140 Russian combat vehicles in flames at one point during the operation.

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The 47th Mechanized Brigade, a recently formed unit within the AFU, was established in April 2022. Equipped with US Bradley infantry fighting vehicles and German Leopard 2 tanks, the brigade had experienced substantial losses in June during a series of unsuccessful attempts to breach Russian defenses in the southern Zaporizhzhia sector. In September, the senior commander of the 47th Brigade, Yury Sak, was removed from his position, although the specific reasons for this decision were not disclosed by AFU command. Following this change, the brigade was redeployed to the Avdiivka sector.

Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine has had repercussions on its population, particularly young Russian men. The Russian government’s autumn conscription cycle commenced on October 1, impacting individuals in both mainland Russia and the occupied territories of Ukraine. Ethnic minorities have been disproportionately affected by the draft, a trend observed in the previous year as well.

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In occupied Crimea, for instance, nearly all of the 48 people who received draft notices were ethnic Tatars, highlighting the ethnic composition of Russia’s forces in Ukraine, which primarily consist of individuals from various regions of the Russian Federation.

In 2023, the focus appears to encompass not only ethnic minorities but also other marginalized and potentially vulnerable groups. An official letter published by the Russian investigative news website Vazhnye Istorii on October 3 reveals an organized effort to increase military recruitment. The letter, attributed to Sergei Svitin, an official from the “Presidential Envoy to Russia’s Central Federal District,” was addressed to Alexander Plyaskin, Head of the National Guard for the Tver Region.

The letter references directions from the Russian government issued on March 1, 2023, regarding military recruitment. It schedules a meeting in Tver to discuss related matters. The report details the attached document, instructing regional officials to provide weekly reports on the number of individuals approached and willing to sign military contracts, with a template for the report’s format. It further mandates federal and regional authorities to establish recruitment plans, including objectives and progress reports.

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The attachment identifies 22 categories of Russians to be prioritized as “volunteers” for contract-based military service. This list includes not only reservists and conscripts but also individuals with criminal backgrounds, those serving prison sentences, former members of private military companies, individuals with significant debts or bankruptcy, the unemployed or those registered with employment services, recent Russian citizens, foreign citizens facing unemployment or expulsion, employees of enterprises with quotas for participation in “special military operations,” and current employees of private security companies.

Sergei Krivenko, founder and head of the NGO “Citizen, Army & the Law,” expressed his observations on the situation, noting that the Russian military appears to be struggling to motivate people to voluntarily sign up for service in the war in Ukraine. Krivenko suggested that recruiters may employ various tactics to achieve the recruitment targets, including conscripts who are pressured into signing contracts and individuals transferred from private military companies and occupied areas of Ukraine.

Also Read: Inside Russia’s Storm-Z Units, Where Soldiers Are Treated as ‘Meat’ on the Frontlines

Krivenko also pointed out that the recruitment efforts may signify an attempt to eliminate a marginalized segment of society. He emphasized that the quality of the army seems to be of secondary concern in this recruitment drive. The motivations and well-being of recruits’ families after deployment are not a priority in the recruitment process.

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