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Brave Ukrainian soldiers with a captured Russian T-80U tank fight alone in Bakhmut

According to a viral video released on Social Networks, Ukrainian soldiers of the 93rd Mechanized Brigade continue to fight Russian troops in the city of Bakhmut using a captured Russian T-80U. The video shows a completely isolated tank that continues to fight in the city in order to prevent the capture of the city by the Wagner Group, the Russian paramilitary organization.
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Ukrainian soldiers fight with captured Russian T-80U tanks in the city of Bakhmut. (Picture source video footage Social Network)

In a news update on Friday, April 21, 2023, Russia's Defence Ministry reported that assault forces are currently engaged in combat in the western regions of Bakhmut, the final area of the war-torn Ukrainian city still controlled by Kyiv's troops. Approximately 87.9% of the city’s urban area is under the control of Russian forces, led by the Wagner paramilitary group, according to estimates by the U.S.-based Institute for the Study of War.

The intense conflict has been ongoing for months between Ukrainian and Russian forces over the eastern city, which has suffered significant devastation. The defense ministry refrained from providing specifics on the most recent clashes. For weeks the soldiers of the 93rd Mechanized Brigade have been fighting with courage against the Russian mercenaries of the Wagner Group

While acknowledging some progress by Russian forces in the heated battle for Bakhmut, Kyiv maintained that the situation remains under control. According to local authorities, 60% of the city has been destroyed. Both Moscow and Kyiv claim the other side has suffered heavy losses.

Bakhmut, also known as Artemivsk, holds strategic significance as it is situated in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, an area embroiled in a conflict between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed separatists since 2014. The city is located along major transportation routes, including highways and railways that link it to other critical regional cities such as Donetsk and Luhansk. Control over Bakhmut could enable either party to obstruct or regulate movement along these vital transportation corridors.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu identified Bakhmut as crucial for advancing further offensives in the Donbas region. However, Western analysts question Russia's ability to capitalize on potential victories in the city.

Bakhmut has come to symbolize heroic defiance for Ukraine. Kyiv emphasizes that the ongoing battles around the city have occupied a significant number of Russian troops, hindering Moscow's ability to initiate offensives in other locations while causing substantial losses in both personnel and equipment for Russian forces.

With tank deliveries pending from Europe and the United States, Ukrainian soldiers are using captured Russian tanks to continue the fight. Since the beginning of the invasion of the country by Russian troops, more than 500 Russian combat tanks have been captured by Ukrainian soldiers, including around thirty T-80U tanks.

Brave Ukrainian soldiers with a captured Russian T 80U tank fight alone in Bakhmut 925 002
Captured Russian T-80U tank used by Ukrainian soldiers. (Picture source Social Network)

The T-80U is often considered a superior tank by Russian soldiers when compared to the T-72, with both tanks originating from the Soviet Union. The T-80U, a more advanced model, entered service in the late 1980s, while the T-72 had been in service since the early 1970s.

Among the improvements the T-80U offers over the T-72 tanks family is its enhanced firepower, as it is equipped with a more advanced 125mm smoothbore gun. This gun is capable of firing various types of ammunition, including armor-piercing and high-explosive anti-tank rounds, as well as anti-tank guided missiles. Additionally, the T-80U features a sophisticated composite armor design and reactive armor, providing increased protection against enemy fire.

In terms of mobility, the T-80U has a gas turbine engine, which provides a superior power-to-weight ratio and acceleration, allowing for greater maneuverability and speed on the battlefield. Furthermore, the T-80U is equipped with modern targeting and fire control systems, improving its accuracy and effectiveness in combat.

The Russian-made T-80U main battle tank, designed and manufactured by the Soviet Union and later Russia, boasts several tactical advantages thanks to its gas turbine engine and impressive front and rear speeds. Key benefits include improved mobility, which allows for rapid positioning and flanking maneuvers during combat. The tank also has enhanced maneuverability, with the gas turbine engine enabling smooth gear shifts and high reverse speeds, providing greater tactical flexibility.

The T-80U's gas turbine engine allows for smoother and more efficient gear shifting, enabling the tank to have a high reverse speed. This capability increases the tank's ability to quickly retreat or reposition when necessary, offering greater tactical flexibility during engagements.

Thanks to its gas turbine engine, the T-80U can reach a top forward speed of approximately 70 km/h (43 mph) and a reverse speed of around 20 km/h (12 mph). In contrast, the T-72B3 features a diesel engine and has a slightly lower maximum forward speed of around 60 km/h (37 mph) and a reverse speed of 15 km/h (9 mph).

The gas turbine engine used in the T-80U alo provides a high power-to-weight ratio, which translates into better mobility and acceleration on the battlefield. This advantage allows the tank to quickly move into advantageous positions, evade enemy fire, and perform rapid flanking maneuvers.

The T-80U gas turbine engines have an advantage in cold-start performance compared to diesel engines. This is particularly useful in the harsh winters of Russia and Eastern Europe, where tanks may need to rapidly deploy and engage in combat with minimal preparation time. This type of engine emits less heat than diesel engines, which helps to reduce the tank's infrared signature. This can make it more difficult for enemy forces to detect and target the T-80U using thermal imaging systems.

Brave Ukrainian soldiers with a captured Russian T 80U tank fight alone in Bakhmut 925 003
Russian army T-80U MBT Main Battle Tank. (Picture source Votaly Kuzmin)

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