Putin's elite unit that has been "totally annihilated" in 100 days of war in Ukraine

An elite Russian airborne military unit has suffered significant losses amid the war in Ukraine, so much so that a military analyst said it was "absolutely annihilated" at one point in the offensive, according to 'The Moscow Times'.

Putin's elite unit that has been "totally annihilated" in 100 days of war in Ukraine

An elite Russian airborne military unit has suffered significant losses amid the war in Ukraine, so much so that a military analyst said it was "absolutely annihilated" at one point in the offensive, according to 'The Moscow Times'. 'The Times' tracked and reconstructed the movements of the 31st Guards Air Assault Brigade over the last few months in a report published as the Russo-Ukrainian War reached 100 days last Friday.

The unit was one of those sent to help take control of the Ukrainian city of Gostomel, a suburb of kyiv, in early March, according to an assessment by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) cited by the 'Times '.

In the ensuing conflict in which Ukraine fought to stop Russia's advance, "Russia's elite forces were absolutely annihilated," said Nick Reynolds, a military analyst at the British think tank Royal United Services Institute.

The 100-day mark of the war is notable because when Russia initially invaded Ukraine on February 24 with its focus on the capital of kyiv and surrounding areas, a swift Russian victory was predicted. But Ukraine launched a counteroffensive, prompting Russia to shift its focus to the eastern Donbass region, home to the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics, which Russia has recognized as independent. The heavy losses reported in the elite Russian airborne regiment reflect further deterioration of the country's image as a superior military power during these months of war.

Before the unit's alleged advance on Gostomel in early March, it was "likely" that the 31st Guards Air Assault Brigade was at the Gostomel military airport fighting Ukrainian forces, according to the ISW assessment of 24 February. Ukraine eventually managed to prevent Russia from taking full control of the airfield.

The Russian independent media 'Mediazona' estimated that the 31st Guards Air Assault Brigade has lost at least 52 of its paratroopers in total, including 34 between February 25 and March 7. Gostomel and Volnovakha, a city located in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, were identified by 'Mediazona' as the places of death of the paratroopers.

After Russia shifted its focus to Donbass, part of the 31st Brigade was redeployed to the area around Izium in Ukraine's eastern Kharkov region, 'The Moscow Times' reported, citing a friend of a soldier in the brigade. . Military analyst Rob Lee also told the Times that the unit's remaining paratroopers who had been involved in the war around kyiv were likely combined into a battalion tactical group in the east. Lee estimated that about 2,000 men from the brigade were sent to fight in the Ukraine.

The brigade's movements during the third month of the war were more difficult to designate, but the 'Times' said the anonymous friend informed the outlet that part of the brigade was assisting the Russian offensive around Severodonetsk in late May.

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