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Frontline update: Ukrainians demolish Russian advances in Bakhmut with tanks

Frontline update: Ukrainians demolish Russian advances in Bakhmut with tanks
In our daily update from the front, we pair up with military blogger Reporting from Ukraine to give you an update about what’s happening on the battlefield in the Russo-Ukrainian war.

Day 408. Today the biggest news is coming from the East.

Here, after revealing that Ukrainians are supplying the Bakhmut group via tunnels, Wagner forces decided to stop trying to cut the highways and focus on the city. However, the moment the Russians were pushed from the roads, Ukrainians sent several groups of tanks to Bakhmut and used them to demolish the streets that the Russians managed to capture.

Last time I told you that Ukrainians were pushed out from their positions along the river and the front shifted closer to the center of the city. I also told you that it had been widely speculated that the Ukrainians are not planning to fight here for a long time because they have prepared the main defense line along the railways.

The freshest reports suggest that these speculations were correct. Recent combat footage released by a Russian war correspondent reveals that Russian forces have already reached Birtsevo street. Judging by the video, they have already assumed positions inside this block.

A bit to the south, Russians have passed the stadium Metalurg and reached Kovalska street. Combat footage from this part of the town shows Russians trying to get closer to the railways.

Regarding the stadium Avangard, where two days ago we also saw intense fights, the enemy did not manage to advance and is still located south of Kovalska street.

In footage released several hours ago, a Russian soldier describes the situation on a radio, saying that the assault unit cannot move because Ukrainians established fire control over the area with their tanks.

And this is not surprising. Russian sources have been reporting for weeks about the relocation of Ukrainian tanks to Bakhmut, especially after Ukrainians conducted the first major counterattack near Ivanivske and pushed Russians from the hill. This allowed Ukrainians to send small groups of tanks via the highway from Kostiantynivka and quickly enter Bakhmut from the south without the threat of being shot with anti-tank-guided missiles.

Tanks are very feared in urban warfare. Russians may spend weeks to establish total control over a street, while a sudden tank assault allows them to demolish multiple houses and everyone who occupies them in under a minute. And with the abundance of garages, warehouses, and former supermarkets, it is very easy to hide a tank once it returns from a mission.

Russians are also using tanks. Ukrainian 93rd Mechanized Brigade showed the aftermath of clashes between Ukrainian and Russian tanks. The Russian side also features destroyed Ukrainian tanks in the central part of the city.

However, in armored warfare, just like in infantry fights, the defending party has an advantage because it doesn’t need to expose itself first. Russians cannot use the same tactic and just destroy all the houses because they need at least something to be left to be able to leverage in a future attack. Ukrainians, in turn, don’t have to do that, and once they understand that the position is lost, they can roll out a tank and demolish Russian positions.

The battle in Bakhmut took a substantial toll on Wagner forces, and we could observe a lot of indicators of that for weeks.

  1. First of all, Wagner forces were gradually but continuously reinforced with the regular Russian army, particularly airborne units, to prevent the collapse of the flanks.
  2. Secondly, the six-month contracts with prisoners were about to end.
  3. And thirdly, Prigozhin launched an extensive recruitment campaign. Over the last week, Prigozhin finally confirmed the speculations himself. He said that Wagner forces rapidly shrank by at least 5,000 troops because the contracts with the prisoners ended.

He also made a video on one of the Wagner cemeteries saying that it continues to grow, and he explicitly admitted that the battle for Bahmut damaged Wagner forces pretty badly.

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