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Russia's failures in Ukraine have dented the 'elite' status of its paratrooper force_freckle removal laser treatment cost

2022-08-09 10:13:04 Form:Technology freckle - professional freckle author: click:439
Stavros Atlamazoglou·6 min read
Russian paratroopers in Kyiv Ukraine
Russian paratroopers in the Kyiv region, March 2022.Russian Ministry of Defense/Mil.ru
  • Russia's elite airborne force, the VDV, has been at the center of Moscow's offensive against Ukraine.

  • The VDV has struggled in Ukraine, where fighting has taken a high toll in lives and damaged the unit's reputation.

The Russian military's struggles in Ukraine have seriously dented its reputation.

Despite having qualitative and quantitative advantages, the Russians have failed to achieve their primary objectives, forcing the Kremlin to backtrack and change its strategic goals in the war.

The Russian military's elite airborne force, the VDV, was at the center of the invasion that kicked off on February 24, and its paratroopers have suffered heavy losses in several high-profile failures during the campaign.

One unit within the VDV, the 331st Guards Parachute Regiment, is considered elite in its own right and has taken heavy losses in Ukraine, including its commander, Col. Sergei Sukharev, who was killed in mid-March.

An airfield too far

Russian paratroopers at Hostomel Airport in Ukraine
Russian paratroopers at the Hostomel Airport in Ukraine, March 12, 2022.Russian Ministry of Defense/Mil.ru

The Russian plan focused on acting with speed, surprise, and violence. Russian President Vladimir Putin and his advisers envisioned a war that lasted 48 to 72 hours, captured key Ukrainian urban centers, including Kyiv, and toppled the Ukrainian government.

Airborne forces are ideal for such contingencies, as they are trained and equipped to fight with speed, surprise, and aggression. Russian military commanders naturally turned to their VDV airborne forces to play a key part in the invasion of Ukraine.

One of the main Russian targets in the initial hours of the invasion was the Antonov airport near the Ukrainian town of Hostomel, about 20 miles from Kyiv. VDV paratroopers conducted an air assault on the airport using about 30 helicopters.

At first, they were able to capture it, but it was a short-lived victory, as a Ukrainian counterattack by special-operations forces and conventional troops retook the airfield.

Antonov Airport in Hostomel Ukraine
Damaged buildings and fuel tanks on fire at Antonov Airport in Hostomel, Ukraine, March 11, 2022Maxar Technologies via Getty Images

The goal of the attacking force in airborne operations, such as airfield seizures, is to expand the perimeter, or "airhead," so that the defending force can't hit the airfield with artillery, rockets, and other indirect-fire weapons, a former Green Beret officer who served in the 82nd Airborne Division told Insider.

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