It is highly possible that Russian soldiers are fighting with shovels “hand-to-hand” combat against Ukrainian forces due to an ammunition shortage, the UK Ministry of Defense (MoD) said.
During a Russian attack on a Ukrainian stronghold in February, Russian reservist troops were equipped with only “firearms and shovels”, the MoD said during an update on Sunday.
The update said that the shovel being used was an MPL-50, which was designed in 1869 and the design hasn’t evolved since then.
The MoD said this “highlights the brutal and low-tech fighting” and sums up the invasion so far.
One of the reservists said they were “neither physically nor psychologically” prepared for combat, the update also noted.
“Recent evidence suggests an increase in close combat in Ukraine,” it 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.”
The MoD did not disclose where the battle involving shovels occurred.
A lack of ammo for Russian soldiers has been highlighted by Yevgeny Prigozhin, who is of the Russian paramilitary organization, Wagner Group.
Last month Prigozhin posted a picture on Telegram showing the bodies of a few dozen Wagner fighters, who were lying dead in a courtyard.
The caption that went along with the picture was a formal request from Wagner for more ammunition. The Wagner Group directly blamed the Russian Ministry of Defense for the loss of lives.
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