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Russians improve their tactics, utilize chemical weapons from WWI and drones, says Ukrainian field commander

Company commander in the Da Vinci Volves battalion Serhii Filimonov, talked about the defense of Kupiansk and how it differs from the defense of Bakhmut in the new interview with Roman Kravets. He said Russians use chemical weapons from WWI together with “meat grinders” tactics. Yet, they are constantly learning and adapting as well, becoming a “difficult enemy.”
Screenshot from the interview with Serhii Filimonov, Ukrainska Pravda
Screenshot from the interview with Serhii Filimonov, Ukrainska Pravda
Russians improve their tactics, utilize chemical weapons from WWI and drones, says Ukrainian field commander

Kupiansk is a town in the Kharkiv Oblast where Russia attempts to gain momentum and seize the combat initiative. Similar to the recent situation in Bakhmut, the Russians are concentrating their forces there and preparing assault units. In his interview Serhii Filimonov said that the Russians are employing a new tactic by using chlorine pectin, a toxic gas dating back to WWI, which causes suffocation and tears. The Russians deploy it using drones.

“When fighters start suffocating and jump out of the dugout, the Russians throw grenades. If there are casualties or deaths, evacuation begins, and at that moment, the Russians launch a ‘meat grinder.’ If it succeeds, they get in, and Ukrainians retreat 50-100 meters,” said Filimonov.

The so-called “meat grinder” remains unchanged in the tactics of the Russians. They attack head-on without consideration for casualties, just like the Wagner group in Bakhmut. Like in Bakhmut, Russians send poorly trained prisoners for the assaults near Kupiansk, according to Filimonov.

However, the fighter believes the Russians are evolving and learning. They have improved their reconnaissance capabilities and acquired many kamikaze drones. The Russians are mastering new weapons and becoming even more formidable opponents.

“If they were to send columns now, even on just one front, as they did towards Kyiv, it would be a gift for all of us. Currently, they are sending prisoners forward. If the prisoners die, they prepare new ones. If the prisoners get in, they bring regular troops there and send the prisoners further,” Filimonov explained.

Filimonov mentioned that Ukrainian fighters have no complaints about Western equipment. He particularly praised German tanks “Leopard” and American M119 howitzers. Nevertheless, he pointed out that most of the weapons used by his unit consist of trophies.

“Most of our equipment is trophies – armored personnel carriers, tanks. We also had a trophy TOS-1A “Solntsepyok” [heavy thermobaric system]. It fires at a short distance but inflicts severe casualties because it raises the temperature to 3,000°C and lowers pressure. In other words, “Solntsepyok” destroys any bunker or trench,” Filimonov said.

Heavy thermobaric system "Solntsepyok", photo Wikipedia
Heavy thermobaric system “Solntsepyok”, photo Wikipedia

The Ukrainian fighter predicts that the fall and winter will bring calmer combat situations since the effectiveness of infantry and equipment decreases during this period. The Russians will likely attempt to “freeze” the Ukrainians again, attacking the power grid, which will fail like last winter.

Serhii Filimonov lovingly mentions his 6-year-old son, Orest. The boy knows what is happening and worries deeply about his father. However, in the future, Orest wants to join the army and protect Ukraine.

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