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Frontline update: Russian progress in Bakhmut has stalled

Screenshot of footage of fighting in Bakhmut/Reporting from Ukraine
Frontline update: Russian progress in Bakhmut has stalled
In our daily frontline update, we pair up with military blogger Reporting from Ukraine to briefly tell you what’s happening on the battlefield in the Russo-Ukrainian war.

Day 412: April 11. Today there is a lot of important news from the east. Here, the Russian private military company Wagner Group has been trying to engulf Bakhmut for more than 3 months but has pushed itself far beyond a sustainable limit of losses. Recently the losses caught up. Prigozhin gathered the remnants inside the city, but even with the increased concentration of units in Bakhmut, Russian progress has completely stalled.

The freshest reports suggest that the main Russian objective remains penetration of the established defense along the railways. A soldier from the Ukrainian 240th Assault Brigade reported that there are a lot of indicators that Russians received some reinforcements. He speculated that the Wagner forces relocated certain formations of Wagner special operators from Syria. Shortly after that, Ukrainian Ground Forces Commander stated that Ukrainian forces had exhausted Wagner forces so much that the Russian military command had to send SPETSNAZ (Russian special forces units) and airborne elements to Bakhmut. [In its latest assessment, the Institute for Study of War reports that Russian airborne elements are currently on the flanks of Bakhmut, while Wagner is leading the efforts to take the city – Ed.]

Russia controls three quarters of Bakhmut – ISW

What complicates the situation for Ukrainians is that all these separate elements are using different tactics: some of them prefer infantry assaults in small groups, some are aggressively using armored vehicles, and others are just waiting until Ukrainian positions are reduced to rubble. Because of such a high intensity of attacks, the Ukrainian 93rd Mechanized Brigade, which showed exceptional performance by holding the southern line, assumed control along the railways. Other detachments are responsible for more stable parts of the city or help the 93rd Mechanized Brigade on demand.

The famous Ukrainian 1st Border Detachment, to a large extent, assumed responsibility for the southwestern part of the city, and Wagner forces tried to take advantage of the recent changes. Today a Ukrainian soldier reported that Wagner forces were attacking them non-stop for 3 hours. By suppressing the Ukrainian fire, they attempted to encircle this group, but the Ukrainians made a timely request for support, and a second group of Ukrainians suddenly struck Wagners from the flanks with RPGs, and the Russian attack was finally repelled.

Six Ukrainian border guards held the position in Bakhmut for 3 hours before reinforcements arrived

Recently released combat footage revealed that Ukrainians made a successful counterattack and pushed Russians from school #2. The video features a soldier who is firing from this school at Russian positions in the high-rise buildings. This is a very favorable development because it means that the southern supply road that Ukrainians are constantly using is even more secure.

The Head of the Wagner forces, Prigozhin, said that Ukrainians had established a powerful strongpoint in the dense residential areas and has personally confirmed that Ukrainians indeed have tunnels in this part of the region. Prigozhin also said that regular Russian forces, primarily airborne units, have completely substituted Wagner forces on the flanks. This is consistent with the statement of the Ukrainian Ground Forces Commander, more specifically that Wagner forces have been sustaining such high losses that by continuously plugging the holes in the front line with airborne elements, the regular Russian army gradually completely assumed control over the flanks, while all Wagner forces are concentrated in Bakhmut.

Ukrainian soldiers from the 92nd Mechanized Brigade already noted that the assaults on the flanks are mostly conducted by regular Russian forces. Today they released a video showing the result of their work and said that although Russians reinforced Wagner’s flanks with regulars, their assault units have become smaller. Some analysts are saying that these regular formations are just used to operating in smaller groups, but others say that operating in such small units in Bakhmut is senseless, so Russians are just losing men faster than they replace them with reinforcements.

Overall, Russian forces have been significantly exhausted in the Bakhmut direction, and the newly arrived regular Russian formations do not seem to have enough resources to conduct powerful enough assaults. Even though Prigozhin concentrated all his forces in Bakhmut, the tempo of Russian advancement inside the city also decreased, and there were no confirmed gains today. Ukrainian defense line along the railways proves to be a formidable obstacle on their way.

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