Ukrainian snipers are focused on taking out high-profile Russain targets and demoralizing troops.
A sniper unit training near Bakhmut calls itself “Devils and Angels,” The Wall Street Journal reported.
Military experts say taking out unit commanders can cause disarray among troops.
While Ukrainian troops struggle to proceed through Russia’s minefields, an elite team of snipers are focused on taking one shot at a time — and strategically picking off high-profile Russian military targets.
The team of snipers has dubbed itself the “Devils and Angels,” according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. A crucial part of their role is to take out high-level Russian commanders and other high profile targets, with the ultimate goal of sowing shock, chaos, and disorganization in the enemy ranks.
“If you’re assembling to attack and your lieutenant is picked off, the unit goes into disarray,” military historian and retired Army Major General Robert Scales told the Journal. Even killing the leader of a small unit can “completely discombobulate the unit,” he added.
The snipers training near Bakhmut told the outlet that in addition to their marksmanship, they’re training to be even more elusive in the field. “We work quietly, we are invisible,” a sniper who goes by Fisher said.
Ukrainian snipers have previously said it’s their mission to terrorize and demoralize Russian troops. One sniper who was severely wounded in battle told CNN last week he underwent 16 operations just so he could get rejoin his unit on the frontlines in the Zaporizhzhia region.
Mark Cancian, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told the Journal “snipers also become much more important when the front lines stabilize, as they have for the last many months in Ukraine.”
Ukraine’s snipers have said they don’t typically use ghillie suits, camouflage often used by Western snipers to help them blend into the environment, because they were too heavy to hike in across battlefields, Insider’s Ryan Pickrell previously reported. The snipers do, however, say they prefer Western rifles.
Night-vision technology has also helped Ukrainian snipers identify and hit their targets, with an unverified video from June appearing to show them holding off a Russian attack by aiming at thermal images of moving targets.
Also in June a Ukrainian sniper picked off Vladimir Andonov, a Wagner Group member known at “The Executioner” and one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s most notorious mercenary fighters.
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