July 20, 2023 – Russia-Ukraine news

After months of anticipation, Ukraine finally launched its “Spring Offensive” in early June.

Everyone knew it would be tough going for the Ukrainians, having watched Russia dig in and build up formidable defenses over months. But even with no real expectation that the offensive would look like Ukraine’s lightening fast advance around Kharkiv last September, the hope among western officials was that Ukraine would be farther along and more successful than they are right now.

The offensive has proven more challenging than many expected, even with an arsenal of new western weaponry and equipment fueling the assault.

Among the most-anticipated pieces of equipment was the American-made Bradley Fighting Vehicle, a critical addition to help infantry cross the dangerous and open terrain.

A 19-year-old soldier who goes by his call sign, “Kach” spoke to CNN. His brigade, the 47th Mechanized Brigade, is the only one to have received the coveted Bradleys, 200 of which have been committed by the US.

The armored fighting vehicles are so admired by Ukrainian soldiers that running around Kach’s team’s camp barking is “Bradley” – the brigade press officer’s 6-month-old rescue puppy.

The Velcro flag patch on Kach’s chest was a parting gift from his American trainer in Germany, who told him it would bring good luck. But it was the thick armor, powerful machine guns, rockets and night vision capabilities on the Bradley that gave Kach a boost of confidence when ordered to assault the Russians.

When the brigade did, the Russians were ready. Dense minefields had been laid, rows of winding trenches were dug. Russian artillery started to pick off the vehicles sent out to de-mine the area. On top of that, this southern direction of attack was perhaps the most predictable in the offensive: designed to try to punch through the Russian line, drive south and split the southern land bridge connecting Russian-occupied Crimea and Donbas before finally reaching the Sea of Azov.

The 47th ran into trouble very quickly trying to pierce the Russian line in their newly acquired armor. Photos and videos showed charred armored vehicles, including Bradleys and a German Leopard tank. Oryx, a military analysis site based on open source information, reports that around three dozen Bradleys have been destroyed or damaged.

Read more here.

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