The Soviet-era vehicle was moving through the town of Nikolske in the Donetsk Oblast when it came under attack from the low-flying drone. The 30-second-long video, which was posted by Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons), has already been seen more than 170,000 times.
The video also showed the devastation to Nikolske, located in the industrial region of the Donets Basin and which had a pre-war population of 7,801. The small urban center was captured by the militia forces of the Donetsk People’s Republic last spring, and the occupiers renamed it Volodarske, its name during the Soviet era.
Ukrainian authorities continue to use the pre-Bolshevik name. Much of the town, including the region “House of Culture” and most residences, has been destroyed in recent fighting.
The Black Zaporozhian
The 72nd Separate Mechanized Brigade has been actively engaged in combat operations in the regions. Its history can be traced back to the Soviet era when it was previously named the 29th Rifle Division (2nd formation) and then the 72nd Guards Rifle Division of the Soviet Ground Forces. After the fall of the Soviet Union, it was transferred to Ukraine.
The unit was deployed to Eastern Ukraine in 2014 and subsequently participated in the War in Donbas. In November 2015, its honorific “Red Banner” was removed as part of the Ukrainian Armed Forces-wide removal of Soviet awards and honorifics.
A year later its “Guard” title was also removed, but it also received the honorific “Black Zaporozhian” to honor the Ukrainian People’s Army Black Zaporozhian Cavalry Regiment that fought against the Bolsheviks in the Russian Civil War and later against the Soviet Red Army in the Soviet-Polish War (1919-20).
The 72nd Separate Mechanized Brigade was one of the few maneuver formations defending Ukraine’s capital of Kyiv following Russia’s unprovoked invasion last year.
The brigaded engaged units of Russia’s 35th, 36th, and 41st Combined Arms armies, and successfully used Western-supplied weapons including FGM-148 Javelin and British-made NLAW man-portable anti-tank guide-missile launchers to destroy Russian tanks from as far as a mile away. The brigade also provided reconnaissance on Russian formations and supplied targeting data to two artillery brigades, which struck the attacking forces.
— ???????? Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons) April 12, 2023
Last August, the 72nd Brigade was deployed to the Donetsk Oblast, and in the recent fighting has taken heavy losses but continues to engage with Kremlin’s forces.
It has shared its latest exploits on social media, and its troops have destroyed a number of Russian main battle tanks (MBTs) and IFVs.
Author Experience and Expertise
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.