A Ukrainian army officer revealed on Twitter how his team destroyed a Russian pontoon bridge a couple of days ago, defeating attempts by Russian troops to cross the Siverskyi Donets river running between the Donetsk and Luhansk provinces.
“Artillerymen of the 17th tank brigade of the #UAarmy have opened the holiday season for [Russian forces],” the ministry said on Twitterr on Wednesday, sharing images which appear to show a devastated pontoon bridge and destroyed or damaged vehicles. “Some bathed in the Siverskyi Donets River, and some were burned by the May sun.”
Ukrainian authorities said the 80th Separate Assault Brigade had destroyed all attempts from Russian troops to cross the river, a key obstacle for Russian troops hoping to reach Ukrainian-defended territories in the east.
A man identified only as Maxim, who said he is a military engineer and a member of Ukraine’s explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) team, claimed on Twitter that he was one of the officers who coordinated the attack.
He said he was among the experts sent to do engineering reconnaissance on May 7 and 8 on the Siverskyi Donets River ahead of a possible crossing by Russian troops.
Russian forces had gathered on the other side of the river from the settlement of Bilohorivka, according to the tweet from Maxim. So he headed to the area surrounding the settlement and the nearby village of Hryhorivka to assess where Russian troops could possibly attempt to mount a pontoon bridge and cross the river.
Maxim said he assessed that Russian troops would have needed at least 8 parts to complete a floating bridge capable of crossing the over 260 feet wide river, and that it would take them at least two hours of work to do so.
He reported this information to his commanding officers, adding that troops should look out for the sound of a motorized boat, which he assessed Russian troops would need to use to mount the pontoon bridge.
“Visibility was s*** in the area because Russians put fields & forests on fire, and were throwing a lot of smoke grenades. On top of that, it was foggy,” Maxim wrote on Twitter in his narration of the incident.
“They had to hear the sound. And they did on May 8th early morning. Right at the place I said.”
Maxim said he was able to see the Russians mounting the pontoon bridge with his drone.
“Artillery was ready,” wrote Maxim. Ukrainian troops were able to confirm that Russian had mounted seven parts of the bridge out of a total of eight, as the officer had predicted.
“Russians have even succeeded in moving some troops and vehicles over the river. Combats started,” wrote Maxim, adding that he had never before seen such heavy combat in his life.
The bridge had fallen by May 9, according to the Ukrainian officer, leaving some 30-50 Russian vehicles and infantry stuck on the Ukrainian side of the river “with no way back.” His estimates were confirmed by Ukrainian armed forcesalthough the claims have not been independently verified or reported by Russia.
Maxim then said that Ukraine’s aviation started bombing the area, destroying all “the remains of Russians there, and the other bridge they tried to make.”
The officer wrote that unverified rumors suggest 1,500 Russian troops perished during the Ukrainian counter-attack, an unverified claim that has been mentioned in a report on the attack by Forbes. Russian authorities have not confirmed the number of Russian soldiers injured or killed during the incident, but Newsweek has reached out to the Ministry of Defense for comment.
The bridge was reported completely down by May 10.
Images and drone footage of the destroyed bridge was circulated on social media by Ukraine armed forces.
“Their strategic objective was to cross the river and then encircle Lysychansk. They miserably failed,” Maxim wrote, saying the mission “made a huge impact on Russian losses and completely screwed up their plans to encircle Lysychansk.”