April 24, 2023
- Ukrainian service members from the 3rd Separate Assault Brigade fire a D30 howitzer toward Russian positions near Bakhmut on April 23.
Kyiv continues to hold its strategic positions in Bakhmut, a senior military commander said after Russia claimed it had made advances in the city. For months, Bakhmut has been the epicenter of fierce battles for control of the eastern Donetsk region.
2. A screenshot released on April 22 shows the devastated landscape of Bakhmut, a city that had a population of 70,000 people before the Russian invasion.
“We hit the enemy, often unexpectedly for him, and continue to hold strategic lines,” Oleksandr Syrskiy, the commander of Ukraine’s ground forces, said on Telegram.
3. A Ukrainian soldier on patrol near damaged residential buildings in Bakhmut.
Syrskiy’s comments came after Russia’s Defense Ministry said on April 23 that its forces had captured two districts in the western part of the city. The claim could not be independently verified.
4. Ukrainian soldiers wave atop a passing tank on the front line in Bakhmut on April 23.
Kyiv’s fighters are still able to resupply its troops into the beleaguered city despite brutal combat that has resulted in high casualties on both sides.
5. Despite Moscow’s forces increasing their use of heavy artillery and air strikes, Kyiv’s forces continue to stymie their ability to seize control of Bakhmut resulting in the bloodiest infantry battle since World War II.
6. Ukrainian soldiers shelter at the front line.
7. A Ukrainian soldier ferries shells to a waiting D30 howitzer.
8. Another Ukrainian soldier checks netting that is used to protect them from Russian drones.
9. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy vowed to keep defending the city.
“It is impossible for us to give up on Bakhmut because this will [help] expand the battle front and will give the Russian forces and Wagner chances to seize more of our lands,” Zelenskiy said on April 23.
10. Ukrainian soldiers have a short rest in a shelter on the front line in Bakhmut.
11. Ukrainian artillerymen punish Russian positions.
12. Many experts have said — and Ukrainian leaders have hinted — that Kyiv is on the verge of launching a long-awaited counterattack.
The Telegraph yesterday reported that : “Russian soldiers use special ponchos to thwart Ukraine’s drones
The metallic-lined blankets worn by sniper and sabotage units seem to be able to dodge cameras and aerial reconnaissance.”
“Russian troops are attempting to disguise themselves with “anti-thermal blankets” in a bid to evade detection by Ukrainian forces in the eastern Donetsk region.
The metallic-lined ponchos are mainly being used by sniper and sabotage units to thwart thermal imaging cameras and reconnaissance drones, according to Ukrainian troops stationed in the area.
Footage posted on a pro-Russian channel on the Telegram messaging app appeared to show the effectiveness of the countermeasure.
The aerial video shows the heat signature of a Russian soldier crawling beneath a blanket where he becomes undetectable from the thermal imaging camera above.
In a similar demonstration of the crude, but effective, clothing, a Russian soldier wearing just his body armour can be seen standing next to a barely noticeable silhouette of a colleague wearing an anti-thermal poncho.
The Telegraph could not independently verify the footage.
On the surface, the camouflage jackets or blankets look like regular military wear but are lined with metallic plastic sheeting, similar to the material survival blankets are made from.
The liner material traps around 90 per cent of the heat generated by a human body, making it much harder for thermal imaging equipment to detect.
‘Enemy learning to adapt’
“Although the technology itself is not innovative, it is yet another notable adaptation employed by the enemy in their attempt to adapt,” a Ukrainian military officer, codenamed Tatarigami, wrote on Twitter.
“As such, it is crucial for us to acknowledge the capabilities of the enemy and implement our own countermeasures accordingly.”
Ukraine has utilised donations of thermal imaging technologies from its Western allies to devastating effect against Moscow’s forces.
The war-torn country’s military often shares footage captured from thermal imaging drones of attacks on Russian troops.
It is not known how widely available the anti-thermal camouflage is among Russian troops stationed in Ukraine.
The equipment can be purchased online, and has even been latched on to by fashion designers, who have released counter-surveillance fashion lines.
More advanced systems, such as BAE Systems’ vehicle cloaking technology, have been deployed by Western militaries for years.
Rostec, Russia’s biggest defence company, known for its fanciful announcements, once claimed it was developing a full-body exoskeleton that could provide “invisibility” for its user.
The apparent Russian creation has not yet been witnessed on the battlefield in Ukraine or further afield.”
One big problem with such sheathing, besides not being effective against other night vision methods, is that they are almost unbearable to don in warm weather. They also make noise while moving, which could give them away in the silence of night.