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Ukrainian Drone Strikes Force Russian Tank Crew to Abandon Vehicle Near Avdiivka

Newly released footage indicates that Ukrainian strike drones have compelled a Russian tank crew to abandon their vehicle in the vicinity of Avdiivka, marking a significant development as Russia’s offensive against the Donetsk town enters its fourth month.

Ukrainian Drone Strikes Russian Tank

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Reports suggest that the incident occurred when Russian forces initiated tank fire near Avdiivka.

A Ukrainian drone promptly struck the Russian tank, resulting in Moscow’s troops vacating the vehicle.

Tank Evacuated After Drone Hit

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Video evidence shows a snow-covered tank firing its weapon before being targeted by the drone, leading to the evacuation of soldiers from the still-functional tank.

Attribution to Ukraine’s 47th Mechanized Brigade

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The footage is attributed to Ukraine’s 47th Mechanized Brigade, which has been actively engaged in combat around Avdiivka since Russia commenced its offensive on October 10.

Ukraine’s Use of Combat Drones

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Ukraine frequently releases combat footage showcasing its array of drones in action against Russian forces in various hotspots along the frontlines.

Prior Video in Late December

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In late December, the Ukrainian military shared a video portraying a cost-effective Ukrainian drone compelling the crew of an advanced Russian T-90M tank to abandon their vehicle.

The same video was recorded by the 47th Brigade.

“A drone cannot always destroy a tank,” noted Serhii Sternenko, an activist raising funds for Ukrainian drones.

“But you still need to hit tanks with drones.”

Ukraine’s Growing “Drone Army”

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Since the commencement of Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022, Ukraine has steadily expanded its arsenal of drones, amassing what has been dubbed a “drone army.”

These unmanned aerial vehicles fulfill diverse roles, from reconnaissance to conducting suicide drone strikes and guiding artillery fire.

Kamikaze Drones in Action

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Ukrainian forces frequently employ kamikaze drones designed to target Russian armored vehicles, including heavy main battle tanks.

These explosive drones, made from commercially available components, offer a cost-effective means to engage an enemy’s vehicles or personnel.

Drone Deployments Around Avdiivka

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Both Ukrainian and Russian forces have extensively employed drones around Avdiivka throughout Russia’s costly offensive.

In the initial stages, Russia suffered substantial losses of armored vehicles and tanks before transitioning to infantry-led attacks.

UK Defense Ministry Report

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The U.K. defense ministry reported on Monday that Russian ground forces in Ukraine had lost approximately 365 main battle tanks since early October, along with 700 armored combat vehicles.

In mid-January 2024, Brigadier General Oleksandr Tarnavskyi, commander of Ukraine’s Tavria forces responsible for Avdiivka, shared an image suggesting the presence of Russian military vehicles strewn across the fields near Avdiivka.

Ongoing Conflict in Avdiivka

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The Ukrainian military reported on Tuesday that it had successfully repelled 32 attacks in the Avdiivka region, including the village of Marinka to the southwest of Avdiivka.

Russian forces had taken control of Marinka in late December.

Russian Defense Ministry Update

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The Russian defense ministry’s daily update on Tuesday did not reference Avdiivka but reported that Ukraine had lost up to 310 fighters, two tanks, and three infantry fighting vehicles along the Donetsk frontline, which encompasses Avdiivka.

Institute for the Study of War Assessment

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The Institute for the Study of War, a U.S.-based think tank, noted that Russian forces had made marginal advances on the southeastern outskirts of Avdiivka as of Monday.

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