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Ukrainian 25th Air Assault Brigade surprises with unanticipated deployment in counteroffensive near Neskuchne

In an unexpected development, the 25th Air Assault Brigade, one of the oldest brigades of the Ukrainian air-assault forces, was seen in the town of Neskuchne on June 13, 2023. This event was reported by Forbes International Press Agency, and it signifies the unit joining the expanding Ukrainian corps that's advancing south from Velyka Novosilka.
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25th Airborne Brigade troops mounted on a BMD-1 with cage armor stuffed with insulation for added protection. (Photo via ‘One Paratrooper archive picture’)

Renowned Reuters journalist, Oleksandr Ratushniak, captured an image on the same day showing paratroopers from the 25th Air Assault Brigade traversing Neskuchne aboard a rare 2S17 armored mortar. The 25th Airborne Brigade is a distinctive unit within the Ukrainian Air Assault Forces, notably being the only one equipped with BMD-1 and BMD-2 airborne tracked armored Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs).

Ukrainian airborne troops, numbering around 20,000 soldiers, play a pivotal role in the country's defensive operations. These troops are subdivided into various specific roles, offering a wide range of capabilities.

The maneuver units include one airborne brigade, five airborne assault brigades, and one airborne mobile brigade. These units are designed to provide a quick and effective response in various combat scenarios.

Combat support is also present within the airborne troops in the form of one self-propelled artillery battalion. This provides fire support for the maneuver units and adds to the overall strength of the force.

The Ukrainian airborne troops boast a substantial inventory of armored fighting vehicles. They have around 60 modified T-80BV main battle tanks. Infantry fighting vehicles include models like BTR-3E1 and BTR-4 Bucephalus, while the total count of armored personnel carriers (APCs) is over 187, including tracked and wheeled variants. Among these APCs are 25 tracked BTR-Ds and 162+ wheeled ones including BTR-60, BTR-70, BTR-80, Dozor-B, and Oncilla models. They also possess 75 airborne combat vehicles including BMD-1 and BMD-2 variants.

Anti-tank and anti-infrastructure capabilities of the airborne troops are boosted by 9K111 Fagot and 9K111-1 Konkurs missile systems. The artillery of these forces comprises 142 units in total, which includes self-propelled and towed artillery, multiple rocket launchers, and mortar systems. Specifically, they have 2S1 Gvozdika and 2S3 Akatsiya self-propelled artillery, D-30 towed artillery, BM-21 Grad rocket launchers, 2S9 NONA-S, and 2S12 Sani mortars.

For air defense, Ukrainian airborne troops have 9K35M Strela-10M point-defense surface-to-air missile systems and some truck-mounted ZU-23-2 self-propelled anti-aircraft guns. These diverse capabilities make the Ukrainian airborne troops a robust and versatile force capable of handling various combat situations.

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