A CNN team on Tuesday traveled to the eastern Ukrainian town of Bilohorivka, where Russia is believed to have suffered one of the biggest single defeats of the war. There, the charred remains of Russian armored vehicles littered a field just a few hundred meters from the front line.
The Ukrainian military says that last week it destroyed “at least 73 units of equipment,” including T-72 tanks and a variety of infantry fighting vehicles, when a Russian brigade attempted to cross the Siverskyi Donets River.
The high ground above the river was littered with destroyed Russian tanks separated from their turrets, armored personnel carriers, heavy machine guns with barrels twisted into spirals – and the charred body parts of Russian soldiers.
“They had three places to cross,” explained a senior officer, and asked for his name not to be used for security reasons. “They tried the first one, they failed, they were smashed there. On the second one they tried, they got smashed.”
“Well, and on that last one you saw, where they lost the most equipment. There, they tried four times. First time they did not succeed, they were crushed, artillery. Second time the same thing. Each time they increased their efforts, not understanding that we are observing everything. And for every action they take, we have a counter-action," the officer explained.
He said that the Ukrainians used artillery fire to destroy the Russian pontoon bridge, and used ground forces to push back the armored column.
“They had no time to cross, no time to drop the boats,” he explained. “They all broke through with artillery and gunfire and we watched from the drones as they fell into the water and sank.”
The officer said he believes that Russia has fallen for its own propaganda and is a victim of “outdated” military tactics.
“I remember when I was a cadet they used to say that an American soldier couldn't even brush his teeth before we killed them all. You see it's all just propaganda. They are not like that. They have some new things, but for the most part everything is outdated. The tactics are also outdated. And technologically, they are very far behind NATO and American weapons," he told CNN.