Russia is believed to have deployed “Terminator” tanks to a critical eastern city as Moscow attempts to make a breakthrough in its Donbas offensive.
Britain’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) said the vehicles were likely to be deployed by Russia’s Central Grouping of Forces, which previously suffered heavy losses while failing to break through to eastern Kyiv in the Ukraine invasion’s first phase.
The MoD said the Severodonetsk area “remains one of Russia’s immediate tactical priorities”, but “with a maximum of 10 Terminators deployed they are unlikely to have a significant impact on the campaign”.
The BMPT tank support vehicles, nicknamed “Terminators”, are heavily armoured with four anti-tank missile launchers to help survive urban combat.
They were developed after Russia identified the need for dedicated protection on main battle tanks used in the Afghan and Chechen wars, the MoD said in its latest intelligence update.
Severodonetsk is the last Ukrainian-controlled foothold in the Luhansk region and the epicentre of a battle Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky recently said threatened to destroy the region.
All but a few thousand civilians have fled. In a video address last week, Mr Zelensky said the occupiers were trying to increase pressure in the Donbas, which he described as “hell”.
In March, Russian president Vladimir Putin declared more limited war aims, which included the “liberation” of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, two eastern provinces known collectively as the Donbas.
Elsewhere, the Russian-appointed head of the occupied Ukrainian town next to Europe’s largest nuclear power plant was reportedly injured in an explosion yesterday.
Russia’s RIA agency said Andrei Shevchik, who was named mayor of Enerhodar by Russia after it took the town, was in intensive care.
Dmytro Orlov, who Ukraine still recognises as the town’s legitimate mayor, wrote on the Telegram app: “We have accurate confirmation that during the explosion the self-proclaimed head of the ‘people’s administration’, Shevchik, and his bodyguards were injured.”
Telegraph Media Group Limited