Ukraine has 'completely defeated' a Russian naval infantry brigade of the Black Sea Fleet — for a second time, says think tank

A cannon fires, causing an explosion with troops silhouetted against a blue sky with clouds
Ukrainian soldiers fire a cannon near Bakhmut in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, in May.AP Photo/Libkos, File
  • Ukraine has "completely defeated" the Russian 810th Naval Infantry Brigade, Ukraine's spy chief says.

  • It would be the second time Ukrainian forces have destroyed the brigade, rendering them combat-ineffective.

  • The Russian military has suffered "extreme attrition and high turnover," the UK MoD said on Saturday.

Ukraine has most likely destroyed a Russian naval infantry brigade of the Black Sea Fleet for the second time, a think tank says.

Ukraine's spy chief, Kyrylo Budanov, said the Russian 810th Naval Infantry Brigade had withdrawn after being defeated amid Ukraine's counteroffensive.

"That brigade was completely defeated, completely smashed, and now they have withdrawn, being replaced by airborne troops," Budanov said in an interview with The War Zone.

The Institute for the Study of War, a think tank based in Washington, DC, said Budanov's description corresponded with the US military's definition of a mission to "destroy," which means to render an enemy force "combat-ineffective until it is reconstituted."

The brigade, which is based in Sevastopol, Crimea, was destroyed by Ukraine once before in April 2022, when the Ukrainian army reported that 158 soldiers had been killed and about 500 wounded, the think tank noted.

The losses included their commander, Col. Aleksey Sharov, Russian media reported at the time.

The Deputy Chief of Ukraine's GUR military-intelligence service, Maj. Gen. Vadym Skibitskyi, said in July 2022 that about 200 marines of the 810th Brigade had refused to return to war.

Two months later, the Ukrainian army reported the brigade had lost more than 85% of its personnel fighting in the Kherson region and that many again had refused to return to combat, the ISW said.

The 810th Brigade had since been reconstituted by the Russian military, and the ISW observed elements of it in the Zaporizhia region this year. A full-strength Russian brigade has at least 2,000 soldiers.

The heavy losses suffered by this brigade are emblematic of the wider issues faced by the Russian military, which has been suffering from "extreme attrition and high turnover," the UK Ministry of Defense said on Saturday.

While Russia has suffered a high number of casualties during the conflict, according to Western estimates, it also has a large population from which to continue to recruit and conscript soldiers.

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