Russian Troops Being Sent Into Battle With Shovels, According To UK Intelligence
A Ukrainian infantryman with the 28th Brigade takes cover in a partially dug trench along the frontline facing Russian troops 250 metres away.
Russian troops are being sent into battle in Ukraine armed with shovels, according to UK officials.
One reservist described being “neither physically nor psychologically” prepared for the brutality of arm-to-arm combat, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said.
In their latest intelligence update, the MoD said at the end of February, Russian mobilised reservists were “ordered to assault a Ukrainian concrete strong point armed with only ‘firearms and shovels’”.
They said the shovels were likely MPL-50 “entrenching tools being employed for hand-to-hand combat”.
A Russian MPL-50 shovel for sale on ebay
The MoD said: “Little changed since it was designed in 1869, its continued use as a weapon highlights the brutal and low-tech fighting which has come to characterise much of the war.
“One of the reservists described being ‘neither physically nor psychologically’ prepared for the action.”
There has been an increase in “close combat” fighting in Ukraine, the MoD said.
“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,” they added.
Latest Defence Intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine - 5 March 2023
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— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) March 5, 2023