As the war in Europe entered the third week, Ukrainian officials provided videos that appear to show a number of tanks on fire or destroyed to support a claim that their military has defeated a Russian tank regiment outside the capital Kyiv.
Ukrainian officials said the column of Russian tanks was forced to retreat after taking heavy losses after being ambushed with artillery in the town of Brovary.
The video shows a column of tanks being ambushed with artillery in the town of Brovary, on the eastern outskirts of Kyiv, with some forced to turn back.
Ukrainian forces claimed the destroyed tanks were Russian, with a commander, Colonel Andrei Zakharov, killed during the fighting.
Zakharov, who received an Order of Courage award by Putin in 2016, was killed on Thursday by the Ukrainian forces in the battle of Brovary.
The Order of Courage is awarded to citizens of the Russian Federation who showed dedication, courage, and bravery in protecting public order, fighting crime, rescuing people during emergencies, as well as for bold and decisive actions committed during the performance of military or civil duties under conditions involving a risk to life.
Zakharov is one of almost a dozen top Russian military commanders to be killed in the war, following the high-profile deaths of Major General Vitaly Gerasimov, Major General Andrei Sukhovetsky, and Major General Andrei Kolesnikov, who were killed in the battle.
Also among the Russian dead is warlord Vladimir Zhonga, who led the Sparta Battalion, a Neo-Nazi military unit that has the Kremlin’s backing. Zhonga was killed during battle in the eastern Ukrainian town of Volnovakha on Saturday.
They are among 12,500 Russian troops Ukraine claims it has killed, during the campaign to subdue its neighbor one Kremlin official reportedly described as a “clusterf***”.
Russian troops were forced to retreat and “move to the defense” as a result of significant losses of personnel and equipment, according to Ukrainian defense intelligence.
The Biden administration warned that Russia could use chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine, as it rejected Moscow’s claims that U.S. biological weapons labs are operating in the war-torn country.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Wednesday called Russia’s claims “preposterous” and warned of “disinformation” campaigns.
“We took note of Russia’s false claims about alleged U.S. biological weapons labs and chemical weapons development in Ukraine,” she tweeted. “We’ve also seen Chinese officials echo these conspiracy theories.”
Psaki said the United States was in “full compliance” with its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological Weapons Convention, which bar countries from developing or possessing such weapons.
She said Russia has long “maintained a biological weapons program in violation of international law” and cited its military intervention in Syria in support of the Bashar Assad regime and its suspected poisoning of Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny in 2020 with a Novichok-like nerve agent.