Serhii Naiev, Commander of the Ukrainian Joint Forces, has revealed that he announced a contest among the Ukrainian troops in the spring of 2022 with a cash reward for the first people to destroy a Russian pontoon bridge across the Siverskyi Donets River near the settlement of Bilohorivka (Luhansk Oblast).
Source: Naiev for news agency Ukrinform
Details: Narrating how the Russian occupying forces had been stopped on the Izium front in the spring of 2022, Naiev recalled that "the enemy decided to advance across the Siverskyi Donets River in the Dronivka-Serebrianka-Bilohorivka area".
Quote: "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.
Nevertheless, the enemy never gave up on their plans and persisted in their attempts to build bridges. That's why Colonel Serhii Martseniuk, Commander of the 26th Artillery Brigade named after Brigadier General Roman Dashkevych, received a task to promptly detect and prevent attempts to build bridges and to destroy them should they be constructed.
The combat effort lasted for nine days, from 4 to 13 May 2022. The Ukrainian army thwarted two attempts to build the crossing and destroyed four pontoon bridges that had been constructed. The enemy eventually gave up on forcing the river and sank their tanks in the waters of the Siverskyi Donets to keep us from capturing them."
In 2022, Serhii Haidai, then head of Luhansk Oblast Military Administration, reported that the Ukrainian Armed Forces had once again destroyed Russian pontoon crossings across the Siverskyi Donets on 12 May, killing Russian military personnel and destroying their machinery.
Haidai added that about 70 pieces of equipment had been destroyed, and dozens of Russian soldiers had been killed.