The British confirmation came as the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense published pictures on its Twitter account, showing a destroyed pontoon bridge and charred military vehicles, near the Seversky Donet River, west of Donetsk.
The British Ministry of Defense, which is closely monitoring the war, said in a statement that “Russia lost a significant number of armored operations personnel, as well as the loss of equipment for the pontoon bridge” from which it was intended to cross the river.
“Achieving a river crossing in a conflict zone is a high-risk maneuver,” the ministry said, adding that “this development conveys a picture of the difficulties the Russians are facing in their quest to advance eastern Ukraine.”
And she added, “The Russian army failed to achieve any significant progress, despite the concentration of forces in this area after the withdrawal and redeployment of units from areas adjacent to the capital, Kyiv and Chernihiv.”
And when it published pictures on Twitter, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said that artillerymen of the 17th battalion of the Ukrainian army managed to stop the crossing of the Russian forces to the river.
The ministry added that the Russian forces stumbled across the crossing while trying to take positions on the right bank of the river, hoping to gain control of the city of Rubizny.
The commander of the Ukrainian army in the Lugansk region, Sergey Heyday, said that the Russian forces had almost complete control of the city, which was destroyed by 80 percent.
Meanwhile, a report issued by the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War said that Russian President Vladimir Putin may annex the territories he seized in eastern and southern Ukraine in the coming months.
“After Russia’s annexation of these areas, Moscow’s military doctrine that allows the use of nuclear weapons to protect the country’s territory will include these areas cut off from Ukraine,” the institute added.
The researchers wrote that Ukraine and its allies would be vulnerable to a nuclear attack if they decided to launch a counterattack with the aim of “liberating areas annexed by the Russians, while Moscow considers them part of its territory and sovereignty.”
As for the likely timing of Russia’s annexation of eastern Ukraine, depends mainly on the conduct of operations and the ability of Russian forces to secure the Lugansk and Donetsk regions, which together make up the Donbass region.