An emerging narrative.
I love me some emerging narrative.
Please note: the Ukraine has been losing left and right as they attempt to break the line, and yet, the Guardian is only focusing on one single incident that went viral, acting as though all they’ve lost is a couple of tanks and a few men. This is actually insane, but it’s the way narratives work.
People see that the Ukraine is losing, so they zoom in on this one little thing and act like it’s what everyone is talking about, then they say “yes, it’s bad, but it’s just one little incident.”
It’s important to understand media patterns.
The footage that began circulating on Russian social media channels last week depicted what was portrayed as a significant military setback for Ukraine at the beginning of its counteroffensive.
In a flat, open area south of Zaporizhzhia – bisected by hedges and a wide muddy track – about 12 Ukrainian armoured vehicles had become pinned down, bunched too close together near a minefield.
In one video, shells and rockets can be seen tearing into the ground and into vehicles, including one of Ukraine’s new German-supplied Leopard tanks and US Bradleys. Soldiers can be seen running through the smoke from one damaged vehicle to another.
When the shooting was finally over, several Ukrainian soldiers were dead. Smashed vehicles had been left abandoned. Russian commentators were crowing over the failure.
The Russian MoD published a video showing their “trophies” captured and damaged Bradley’s and one Leopard-2 A6. The video is probably taken from South of Mala Tokmachka. But I didn’t see any geolocation yet. pic.twitter.com/TSIQ9mGlcB
— Mattia Nelles (@mattia_n) June 13, 2023
The two sides have given conflicting accounts of what happened on the afternoon of 7 June, about 4km south of the village of Mala Tokmachka, with Moscow almost certainly overemphasising the importance of the engagement and Kyiv attempting to downplay it. Only now, amid the fog of war, is it possible to ascertain what happened.
As part of a wider effort in that area of the frontline, 20 Ukrainian armoured vehicles led by two specialised mine-clearing vehicles set off in what appears to have been a “breaching operation”, targeting an area of higher ground held by Russian forces.
Not long afterwards, brief posts on social media described how the column ran into serious difficulty close to a minefield, losing many of its vehicles.
“Leopard tanks have not been destroyed, they are in our hearts”
— Zelensky pic.twitter.com/lRz2x2p5Rc
— Gabe (@GabeZZOZZ) June 9, 2023
According to analysis conducted by Deepstatemap, which tracks the status of the fighting in Ukraine, Kyiv’s forces attempted two separate attacks, the first involving nine vehicles, the second 11.
It appears the first group encountered mines, which alerted Russian defenders quickly to their presence. The second group was quickly spotted by Russian reconnaissance drones and came under heavy artillery fire.
At some stage it appears that four Bradleys – possibly from the second group – were sent to help retrieve troops from where they had become pinned down.
According to Ukrainian accounts, the Russian fire led to the loss of one Leopard tank and four armoured personnel carriers. Other vehicles, including a second Leopard, appear to have been damaged. There are claims this tank was also abandoned.
Despite efforts by Russian sources to suggest a wider setback for Ukrainian forces in the area, it appears that much of the footage that emerged in the aftermath showed the same engagements from different angles.
According to the staff sergeant Valerii Markus of the Ukrainian 47th brigade – which was involved in the incident – Russia had hugely exaggerated the brigades’ losses. In a video posted online this week, a visibly angry Markus said his brigade had lost five soldiers, not the large numbers claimed by Russia, and had inflicted far heavier losses on the Russian side.
Where are the Russian losses??
They are shooting at you from behind fortifications!
“It’s hard for our soldiers,” he said aiming his anger at critics of what had occurred, “but they are fighting. They are recovering our land metre by fucking metre.”
The details of the failed assault remain important because of what they reveal about the challenges Ukraine’s counteroffensive faces against defensive positions Russia has had a year to prepare that are supported by Moscow’s superior air power, which has been more visible since Ukraine began its offensive.
Yes. They prepared.
They created what is known as a “line” featuring “defensive positions.”
You faggots drove through a heavily mined open field – over and over again.
There goes the European taxpayers’ money.
The Russians destroyed 3 more 10 million dollar Leopard tanks with a bunch of 20 thousand dollar drones.pic.twitter.com/XsXBPb9A1K
— Hassan Mafi (@thatdayin1992) June 11, 2023