‘Wiped out’: War in Ukraine has decimated a once feared Russian brigade

By | December 16, 2022

The Washington Post reports:

Nuclear-armed submarines slip in and out of the frigid waters along the coast of Russia’s Kola Peninsula at the northern edge of Europe. Missiles capable of destroying cities are stored by the dozens in bunkers burrowed into the inland hills.

Since the Cold War, this Arctic arsenal has been protected by a combat unit considered one of Russia’s most formidable — the 200th Separate Motor Rifle Brigade — until it sent its best fighters and weapons to Ukraine this year and was effectively destroyed.

The 200th was among the first units to plunge into Ukraine on Feb. 24, as part of a fearsome assault on the city of Kharkiv. By May, the unit was staggering back across the Russian border desperate to regroup, according to internal brigade documents reviewed by The Washington Post and to previously undisclosed details provided by Ukrainian and Western military and intelligence officials.

A document detailing a mid-war inventory of its ranks shows that by late May, fewer than 900 soldiers were left in two battalion tactical groups that, according to Western officials, had departed the brigade’s garrison in Russia with more than 1,400. The brigade’s commander was badly wounded. And some of those still being counted as part of the unit were listed as hospitalized, missing or “refuseniks” unwilling to fight, according to the document, part of a trove of internal Russian military files obtained by Ukraine’s security services and provided to The Post. [Continue reading…]

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