VLADIMIR Putin’s elite 5,000-strong naval force was wiped out like “turkeys at a shooting range” during Ukraine’s bloodiest battle yet.
The great loss of Russian troops occurred during their attempt to besiege Vuhledar, a strategically important hamlet in Donetsk.
The elite 155th Marines lost almost an entire brigade and 130 units of equipment, including 36 tanks, while storming the mining town and attempting to capture the high ground.
It was one of the heaviest concentrated military casualties the Kremlin has suffered since the war began on February 24.
According to POLITICO, the naval brigade of 5,000 men was wiped out.
Russian forces have reportedly lost 150 to 300 marines a day since the planned offensive began in January.
Ukrainian officials claimed the throng of enemy troops were killed, wounded or captured.
The catastrophic losses come just days after footage emerged of 31 Russian vehicles being flashed as they entered the region.
The total carnage and tactical errors were denounced by Russian hardliners.
Igor Girkin, a former Russian intelligence officer, called for public show trials to punish incompetent generals responsible for the embarrassments on the battlefield.
Girkin said: “Some of them are complete imbeciles – all the mistakes made before have been repeated.”
During the battle, the Ukrainians held a higher position and were able to pick off the marines.
Girkin described the scene “like turkeys at a shooting range”.
The mining town, which was home to 14,000 people before the war, is located on a hill near the only rail link between Crimea and Donetsk.
It was fortified with Ukrainian artillery, having withstood attacks by Spetsnaz special forces, tank battalions and infantry troops for three months.
The heaviest waves of attacks came last week, leading to a bloodbath among the Marines.
Evgeny Nazarenko, a spokesman for one of the Ukrainian units involved, said the Russian advances were easily spotted from the high-rise buildings where they were positioned.
He said, “We’re up and they’re down.
“They are perfectly visible.”
Ukrainian Armed Forces also released video of Russian troops piled up on the battlefield as they approached Vuhledar from open fields.
During the video, a Ukrainian gunman can be heard saying: “Go and make a graveyard.
“My goodness, the first column flew there and exploded, and then the second went exactly the same way.”
Tom Cooper, a military historian who studied the battle, described Vuhledar as “a great, lofty fortress in the midst of an empty, flat desert”.
The humiliating defeat comes just days after Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said his troops were in control of the area.
The Kiev Ministry of Defense responded with a video showing the destruction of a Russian military column in the area.
The footage showed Russian tanks driving into minefields, bombs destroying armored vehicles, panicked troops and soldiers’ bodies strewn across the ground.
Ukrainian officials claimed the bulk of the casualties came from the Pacific Fleet’s 155th Naval Brigade, stationed in Vladivostok.
The 155th became notorious for looting around Kiev over the past year.
The brigade has been dubbed Russia’s “most unfortunate” unit after suffering heavy casualties in several failed attacks.
Colonel Oleksiy Dmytrashkivskyi, a Ukrainian military spokesman, said: “The 155th Brigade has already had to be remanned three times.
“And now almost the entire brigade has been destroyed.”
The Russian eastern commander, Lieutenant General Rustam Muradov, was blamed for the mass casualties.
A group of die-hard military bloggers and media outlets close to Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin have launched an online tirade against Muradov.
A social media outlet linked to Wagner threatened Muradov with assassination after calling him a “sissy b****”.
Another blogger with half a million followers called for public trials “to punish officers, particularly high-ranking officers, who consistently demonstrate failure on the battlefield.”
The chronic failures at Vuhledar have damaged Putin’s bravado, who has repeatedly claimed that a massive “new offensive” will come in the weeks coinciding with the first anniversary of the war.
The Kremlin is believed to have hundreds of thousands of soldiers, thousands of tanks and hundreds of fighter jets preparing for the new attack.
Putin has also ordered his troops to fully occupy the Donetsk region by next month.
Currently, half of the city is under Russian control.
However, the Vuhledar fiasco has encouraged Kiev to believe that Moscow has failed to heal divisions among senior commanders.
Oleksandr V Danylyuk, head of the Defense Reform Center think-tank in Kyiv, told the Daily Mail: “This is a major setback with huge casualties for a brigade.
“If they continue to deploy their troops in this way, it could result in a collapse of Russian forces during their anticipated major offensive.”
Vuhledar is about 100 miles from Bakhmut, the epicenter of the war’s fiercest fighting in several months.
Both sides have suffered heavy casualties there after Russia threw large numbers of conscripts and recruits into the “meat grinder”.
Ukraine officials claim that an average of 824 Russian soldiers die a day.
That’s four times what it was last summer.
The British Ministry of Defense confirmed the figure as “probably accurate”.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/7387927/putins-elite-marine-5000-men-dead-ukraines-bloodiest-battle/ Putin’s elite naval force of 5,000 was wiped out like “turkeys at a shooting range” in Ukraine’s bloodiest battle