A top Ukrainian commander fighting around Bakhmut says military experts who portray Russian soldiers as only ‘stupid and miserable’ are wrong
Bethany Dawson – May 21, 2023
- A Ukrainian commander has contradicted suggestions of the poor state of Russian troops.
- Andriy Biletsky, of the 3rd Separate Assault Brigade, said Russian soldiers were not “stupid.”
- The comments come as President Zelenskyy said that Bakhmut was completely destroyed.
The commander of a Ukrainian brigade fighting on the frontlines in Bakhmut has dismissed the notion that Russian soldiers are ill-equipped and unhappy.
In a video posted on Telegram, Andriy Biletsky, a commander with Ukraine’s 3rd Separate Assault Brigade, said recent victories had not come at “an easy price.”
The enemy is not as stupid and miserable as some experts show him to be,” said Biletsky.
He added that “The enemy is stubborn and cruel. But we are moving forward. We gnaw out every meter of Ukrainian land. Slava Ukraini!”
The Telegram video comes as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy conceded that Bakhmut, a city in eastern Ukraine where Russian and Ukrainian forces have been waging a particularly brutal battle, had been completely destroyed.
“They’ve destroyed everything. There are no buildings. It’s a pity. It’s tragedy,” Zelenskyy said during a Sunday meeting with President Joe Biden at the G7 summit in Hiroshima.
“For today, Bakhmut is only in our hearts,” he added.
Zelenskyy’s office later made it clear that he had not meant that the city had fallen to Russian troops, the BBC reported.
Ukraine’s 3rd Separate Assault Brigade in action
Meanwhile, Ukraine said it had made advances on the flanks around Bakhmut, where Biletsky’s 3rd Separate Assault Brigade has seen action.
Recent helmet-cam footage from the brigade represents the reality of the fierce fighting, showing a smoky ruin of Russian trenches littered with corpses after the unit mounted a series of surprise counterattacks.
Insider’s Isobel Van Hagen reports the video depicts Ukrainian soldiers throwing grenades, firing their weapons, and advancing toward Russian positions.
In his video, Biletsky described battles earlier this week against Russia’s 72nd Brigade and the so-called “Storm Z. ” He called it “an analogue” of the Wagner Group units made up of released convicts, operated by the Russian Ministry of Defense.
He described hard-won victories that left “more than 50” Russians dead and the capture of “a lot of trophies: equipment, weapons, and prisoners.”
The British Ministry of Defence announced additional Russian troops had likely been deployed to Bakhmut to fight against Kyiv’s advances.
The intelligence briefing stated that Russia’s leadership will “likely continue to see capturing Bakhmut as the key immediate war aim,” which will “allow them to claim some degree of success in the conflict.”