Russian soldiers forced to fight with shovels

Ukraine: Russian tanks enter minefield in Vuhledar

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Russian soldiers are using shovels in hand-to-hand combat in Ukraine, the Ministry of Defence has claimed. In its most recent report on the Russian invasion, the MoD says Russian reservists have described how they were ordered to attack a Ukrainian stronghold with “firearms and shovels.”

The Russians reportedly used an MPL 50 shovel, which reportedly has a reputation in the country for being lethal.

Its design remains largely the same as it was when introduced in 1869, measuring 50cm in length.

Soldiers from the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union used the shovel as a weapon for close combat scenarios.

The MoD said the Russians’ use of the weapon “highlights the brutal and low-tech fighting which has come to characterise much of the war’.”

Their report added that one of the Russian reservists described being “neither physically nor psychologically” prepared for the action.

The MoD also said that hand-to-hand combat is increasing in Ukraine because Vladimir Putin keeps forcing his men to attack despite running low on ammunition.

Bakhmut, a small city in the east of Ukraine, has been the epicentre of bloody fighting between Russia and Ukraine in recent months.

Putn’s soldiers have devoted a lot of resources and lost a lot of men trying to take the city, while Ukraine has also lost a lot of lives.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) has said that Russian troops are beginning to gain a positional advantage in Bakhmut, leading to a “turning movement” in the city.

The thinktank described how a turning movement is used to force the enemy to abandon its prepared defensive positions – different from the aim of an encirclement, which is to trap and destroy enemy forces.

The ISW said: “The Russians may have intended to encircle Ukrainian forces in Bakhmut, but the Ukrainian command has signalled that it will likely withdraw rather than risk an encirclement.”

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Ukraine’s military has remained defiant, saying it has no plans to withdraw from Bakhmut.

A statement by the Armed Forces General Staff said Russian troops are still trying to surround Bakhmut, but added that more than 100 attacks have been successfully defended in the Donbas in the last 24 hours.

Around 4,000 civilians still live in Bakhmut. The city’s pre-war population was around 75,000.

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