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Ukraine captures Russian tank battalion commander

Russian Federation Major Schetkin Leonid Petrovich captured by Ukrainian forces Feb. 26, 2022. (Ukraine Ministry of Defense/Released)
February 27, 2022

The Ukrainian military claimed on Saturday to have captured the commanders and chief of staff of Russia’s tank battalion, 35th Motor Rifle Brigade, and provided photo evidence.

Russian Major Schetkin Leonid Petrovich, along with his photo identification, military insignia and other personal belongings were photographed in Ukrainian custody and the photos shared by Ukraine’s Operational Command North.

The Ukrainian military said Petrovich was captured after Ukrainian forces attacked a Russian tank unit, in which Petrovich “miraculously survived.”

The capture marks the highest-ranking Russian forces captured by Ukraine so far.

Video shared to social media by the Ukrainian military shows numerous charred tanks in the aftermath of an attack.

On Thursday, the top Ukrainian commander wrote in a statement that “Russian invaders” from Russia’s 74th Motorized Rifle Brigade surrendered to “Ukrainian defenders.”

“Russian invaders, facing the total resistance of Ukrainian defenders, surrender themselves to captivity. Under Chernihiv, a whole intelligence unit of 74 motorcycle rifle brigade surrendered,” the Ukrainian commander stated, adding that the Russian soldiers “thought they would return home” and that they were “collecting information” instead of fighting.

During a press briefing, Ukraine Ambassador Markarova also confirmed the surrender, saying the Russian troops “didn’t know that they were brought to Ukraine to kill Ukrainians. That they thought they were doing something else there.”

As of Saturday, Ukraine said they’d imprisoned 200 Russian troops, and imprisoned 200, saying the Russian troops didn’t expect Ukraine to put up a fight, so they surrendered.

Ukraine claimed on Sunday that in the first three days of battle, it killed 4,300 Russian forces, destroyed 27 airplanes, 26 helicopters, 146 tanks, 706 armored vehicles, and more.

As of Saturday, Ukraine’s health minister also claimed that 198 Ukrainians were killed, including three children, by invading Russian forces, and another 1,000 people were wounded.

U.N. officials said that more than 150,000 Ukrainians had fled Ukraine, and an estimated 4 million could evacuate if the fighting continues.

On Saturday, the U.S. Department of Defense said in the previous 24 hours, it had observed “more than 250 Russian missile launches, mostly short-range ballistic missiles.” Additionally, it said more than half of Russia’s 150,000 troops amassed around Ukraine had been mobilized inside Ukraine, with the rest still waiting along its borders.

On Friday, President Joe Biden authorized $350 million worth of U.S. weaponry to Ukraine, including anti-armor, small arms, various munitions, body armor and similar equipment. With the latest installment, the U.S. has now provided Ukraine with $1 billion in security assistance over the past year alone.

Germany also provided anti-tank grenade launchers and stinger missiles to Ukraine over the weekend.