The Ukrainian Joint Forces, led by Commander Serhii Naiev, recently held a contest among troops in the spring of 2022. The competition offered a cash reward for the first individuals to destroy a Russian pontoon bridge across the Siverskyi Donets River near the settlement of Bilohorivka in Luhansk Oblast.
Naiev, speaking to news agency Ukrinform, recounted the events that led to the contest. He explained that the Russian occupying forces had been halted on the Izium front during the spring of 2022. However, the enemy decided to advance across the Siverskyi Donets River in the Dronivka-Serebrianka-Bilohorivka area.
“I remember the enemy trying to cross the Siverskyi Donets. The night before, I went to bed at about 03:00, and at 05:00, I woke up and arrived at the control point. They told me that the enemy had built the first pontoon bridge. I had to find some creative solution. So, I announced a competition: the one who would be the first to destroy this bridge would receive a cash prize and be presented with a state award. And an hour later, I was told the task had been completed,” Naiev recalled.
However, the enemy did not give up on their plans and continued their attempts to build bridges. In response, Colonel Serhii Martseniuk, Commander of the 26th Artillery Brigade named after Brigadier General Roman Dashkevych, was tasked with quickly detecting and thwarting any bridge-building attempts. If necessary, Martseniuk was also instructed to destroy the bridges.
The combat effort lasted for nine days, from May 4 to May 13, 2022. During this time, the Ukrainian army successfully prevented two attempts to build the crossing and destroyed four pontoon bridges that had been constructed. Frustrated with their failures, the enemy resorted to sinking their tanks in the waters of the Siverskyi Donets to evade capture by the Ukrainian forces.
In a related development, in May 2022, Serhii Haidai, who was then the head of Luhansk Oblast Military Administration, reported that the Ukrainian Armed Forces had once again destroyed Russian pontoon crossings across the Siverskyi Donets. This operation resulted in the death of Russian military personnel and the destruction of their machinery. Approximately 70 pieces of equipment were destroyed, and numerous Russian soldiers lost their lives.
These actions by the Ukrainian forces demonstrate their determination to protect their territory and prevent further advancements by the Russian occupying forces.