Elite Russian brigade basically ‘wiped out’ by Ukraine losses: report
- An elite Russian brigade suffered so many losses in Ukraine that it will take years to rebuild.
- “There is nothing left of that brigade,” a Ukrainian commander told the Washington Post.
- The 200th Separate Motor Rifle Brigade is one of many high-profile units that experienced severe depletion.
An elite Russian military brigade suffered so many losses while fighting in Ukraine that it was essentially “wiped out” and is expected to take a long time to rebuild, according to a new report.
When first deployed to Ukraine, the 200th Separate Motor Rifle Brigade, stationed in northwest Russia near its NATO-leaning border with Finland, had more experience, newer equipment and better training than many other Russian units, The Washington Post reported on Friday.
But despite these advantages, the 200 suffered badly in the months of combat that followed.
Shortly after the invasion, units belonging to the 200 were attacked and ambushed, leaving numerous soldiers dead and equipment abandoned, according to the report.
The 200th spent the next several weeks holding positions in the Kharkiv region and fending off Ukrainian attacks. In late May, documents obtained by the Post revealed that hundreds of soldiers from two battalion task forces had been lost in Ukraine. Several months later, the 200th was defeated during Ukraine’s lightning counter-offensive in the northeast region of Kharkiv.
A soldier serving in the 200 after being conscripted as part of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s September mobilization The warrant told The Post this month that “the unit is in a state of disrepair” and was given “1941 painted helmets and vests without plates.” Western officials told the newspaper that the brigade was plagued with dysfunctions. hindering their combat capabilities.
“There is nothing left of that brigade,” Colonel Pavlo Fedosenko, commander of the Ukrainian 92nd Mechanized Brigade, told The Post in a recent interview. “It’s completely wiped out.” A senior European intelligence official told the newspaper that “it will take years to rebuild the 200” because he lost many soldiers and officers.
The 200 is not the only group of high-profile Russian soldiers to have faced trouble and burnout among their ranks while in Ukraine, while Putin’s battlefield woes are mounting as the war drags on.
Paratroopers from the country’s elite airborne force, known as the VDV, suffered substantial losses as they met with numerous failures during the first weeks of the Russian campaign. A VDV unit saw its commander killed and another was ambushed during a patrol in the Kyiv region.
More recently, the recognition company of the 3rd GRU Guards Spetsnaz Brigade it experienced substantial casualties during the battle for Lyman, as the Ukraine advanced its blitz-style counteroffensive in the Kharkiv region.
After nearly 10 months of war, the exact number of Russian soldiers who have died fighting in Ukraine is unclear, as the Kremlin does not regularly provide such information to the public. And when it does, the numbers are widely viewed as unreliable. Earlier this week, UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said that “we estimate that more than 100,000 Russians are dead, wounded or have deserted.”
That number echoes a similar estimate by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, the highest-ranking US general, who said last month that more than 100,000 Russian soldiers he had been “killed and wounded”. Milley added that Ukraine has “probably” suffered similar casualties.