UKRAINE WAR: UK Defence Ministry Claims Russian Reservists Fighting With Shovels



Russian titanium 95% Ti infantry entrenching shovel as Soviet Army MPL ...

MPL-50 shovel.

The United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence reportedly says Russian reservists are likely using “shovels” for “hand-to-hand” combat in Ukraine due to a shortage of ammunition.

In late February, reservists described being ordered to assault a Ukrainian position “armed with only ‘firearms and shovels'”, the BBC quoted the Ministry as having said in its latest intelligence update.

It reportedly mentioned a shovel known as MPL-50.

The Ministry said that the tool was designed in 1869 and had changed little.

“The lethality of the standard-issue MPL-50 entrenching tool is particularly mythologised in Russia,” the Ministry said.

It said that the continued use of the shovel “as a weapon highlights the brutal and low-tech fighting which has come to characterise much of the war”.

The update added that one of the reservists described being “neither physically nor psychologically” prepared for the action.

“Recent evidence suggests an increase in close combat in Ukraine,” the UK Defence Ministry said.

It added: “This is probably a result of the Russian command continuing to insist on offensive action largely consisting of dismounted infantry, with less support from artillery fire because Russia is short of munitions.”

The BBC stated that it has been unable to independently verify these reports.

The Ministry had not given information on where such battles were taking place.

Meanwhile, the BBC quotes the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) as having said that Russian forces appear to have secured a sufficient positional advantage in the besieged city of Bakhmut.

Bakhmut has seen months of fighting, as Russia tries to take control of the small city, where around 4,000 civilians remain.

Taking the city would be a rare battlefield success in recent months for Russia, but the city’s strategic value has been questioned.

The ISW said that Russia’s positional advantage could allow a “turning movement” in the city.

The ISW says that the purpose of a turning movement is to force the enemy to abandon prepared defensive positions, and is different from the aim of an encirclement, which is to trap and destroy enemy forces.

“The Russians may have intended to encircle Ukrainian forces in Bakhmut, but the Ukrainian command has signalled that it will likely withdraw rather than risk an encirclement,” the ISW said.

However, the Ukrainian military said on Sunday that it had no intention of withdrawing from Bakhmut.

A statement by the Armed Forces General Staff acknowledged that Russian forces were still trying to surround the city, but said more than 100 attacks had been repelled in the eastern Donbas region in the past 24 hours.

Thousands of Russian troops have died trying to take Bakhmut, which had a pre-war population of around 75,000.

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