The Severodonetsk region is one of Moscow’s immediate tactical priorities. Russian forces have “gained ground” in the Rubijne-Severodonetsk-Lyssychansk area and have “intensified their efforts to capture Severodonetsk”, estimated Sunday May 22 the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a center American research. In the Donbass, the situation is becoming “more and more difficult” for the Ukrainian defenders of Lugansk, one of the two regions of this coalfield, in particular in the city of Severodonetsk, bombed “24 hours a day”, according to the governor, Serguiï Gaïdaï.
Russian soldiers base their hopes of success in Ukraine on the arrival of armored combat vehicles called “Terminator”, already used by the Russian army in Syria. The British Ministry of Defense mentioned on Sunday the probable deployment in Severodonetsk of the only Russian company of BMP-T Terminator tanks.
As The Times reminds us, these heavily armored and armed vehicles are designed for urban warfare. Equipped with four anti-tank missile launchers, two 30mm cannons, two grenade launchers and a machine gun, the “Terminator” has a top speed of 37 mph. These devices are therefore technologically more advanced compared to the tanks destroyed by the hundreds by Ukrainian troops during the first three months of the conflict.
Pro-Kremlin Telegram channels celebrated their arrival. “Thank God! We have ‘Terminators’! Maybe they will have technical flaws, and maybe their use will only become clear in practice, but that’s progress!” thus welcomed Aleksandr Sladkov, a pro-Kremlin war journalist, as noted by the British daily.
British intelligence officers note that Russia developed “Terminator” after identifying the need to provide dedicated protection for the main battle tanks it used during the wars in Afghanistan and Chechnya.
Russian President Vladimir Putin had previously resisted the deployment of these armored fighting vehicles. In a sign of growing frustration, however, the Kremlin decided to send a “Terminator” company to the Donbass. Vehicles daubed with the letter V, a pro-war symbol in Russia, were filmed patrolling the streets of Severodonetsk.
“Their presence suggests that the Central Grouping of Forces (CGF) is involved in this attack (against Severodonetsk)” insofar as it is “the only formation to deploy this vehicle”, indicated the British Ministry of Defense, specifying that the CGF “had previously suffered heavy casualties by failing to break through into eastern Kyiv during the first phase of the invasion”.
The British, however, relativize the military impact of these tanks in the conflict. Even “with a maximum of ‘Terminators’ deployed, they should not have a significant impact on the campaign”, observed London. But the psychological impact cannot be underestimated.