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Frontline update: Russians did not secure positions in Bakhmut, intensified flank attacks

Situation in Ukraine’s south and east as of 13 April 2023. Map: (markers showing the recent military activity made half-transparent so that city names remain visible, full size)
Frontline update: Russians did not secure positions in Bakhmut, intensified flank attacks
In our daily frontline update, we pair up with the military blogger Reporting From Ukraine to briefly tell you what’s happening on the battlefield in the Russo-Ukrainian war.

Day 413: April 12

“Today, there are a lot of updates from the East. Here, after gathering all their forces in Bakhmut, Russian forces suddenly tripled the number of attacks per day in order to fix and overwhelm Ukrainian forces, which allowed them to generate a local breakthrough. However, Russians overestimated their ability to hold the newly gained bridgehead, and because such an intense fire could not be maintained for long, Ukrainians waited several hours, destroyed isolated Russian special operators, and took back what they lost.”

The freshest reports suggest that Ukrainians are controlling more ground. Recent combat footage released by the Ukrainian side revealed that Russians still have not established control over the stadium Avangard [in Bakhmut]. The footage shows how several Russians manage to enter the building despite Ukrainian fire, however, later that day, Ukrainians destroyed that building together with the Russians by a strike or by detonating the planted mines.

The latest Russian reports also suggest that Ukrainians are still holding the high-rise building across Kovalska Street, which suggests that Ukrainians are preventing Russians from moving freely on the territory of the school. The schoolyard would be perfect for getting their armored vehicles close to the contact line, so maintaining positions in the residential complex allows Ukrainians to be tactically at par.

Russia controls three quarters of Bakhmut – ISW

Slightly to the west, the Ukrainian 1st Border Detachment repelled another wave of assaults. Today one of the soldiers reported that after yesterday’s failure, Wagner forces increased the size of the assault unit and sent a platoon instead of squads. Nonetheless, Ukrainians repelled the attack and liquidated at least 19 troops in one session.

In the central part of the region, Russians still haven’t got close to the railways because Ukrainians established a powerful strong point in the main train station. As you can see, the station is surrounded by a park, where Ukrainians dug trenches and fortified them with various objects. Recent footage also shows how Ukrainians cross the street in front of the park and establish positions in one of the high-rise buildings on this street.

In the upper center, there were a lot of unexpected changes. Here, Russian forces conducted a very rapid attack: they suppressed Ukrainian fire in the whole region with intense shelling and gunfire, quickly crossed the railways, and started breaching buildings. Ukrainians missed the moment to prevent them from crossing the rails and had to retreat to escape potential encirclement. Some soldiers claimed the operation was conducted by the newly arrived Russian special operators because they received unusually extensive support for the mission. However, the Russian bridgehead turned out to be too weak in isolation, Ukrainians cut off all the support to the elevator and, by the end of the day, conducted a counterattack, rapidly closed the distance, and recaptured the whole area.

In the northern part of the region, it looks like Russians recaptured the street they previously lost. There was a lot of back and forth in this region, but the recently released combat footage shows how Russians are shelling Ukrainian positions in the houses south of Rose Alley. Preventing Russians from crossing the alley is essential not only for the stability of the defense line along the railways but also for the stability of supplies via the Khromove highway. The residential buildings along the city’s outer edge allow Ukrainians to exert significant fire control over the fields and the forest, which is why, for now, Russians gave up on the idea of capturing the village of Khromove.

When it comes to the flanks, the activity here has slowly increased. As you remember, a sudden snowfall that started on 31 March caught everyone by surprise and made infantry attacks impossible. During the first days of April, the snow started to go away gradually, and the clashes started to take place on the highlands. In contrast, in the lowlands, the conditions became even worse because this is where all the thawed snow accumulates – the trenches turned to swimming pools, while the fields turned to mud. By the end of the first week of April, the pools started to dry up, and Russians started preparing for the assaults by launching artillery preparation and shelling Ukrainian positions in the fields. Ukrainians responded reciprocally and started targeting Russian shelters in the proximate positions.

When it comes to the Khromove area, the only thing that separates Ukrainian and Russian positions is a tree line, and as you can see, sometimes Ukrainians engage tanks to shell Russians if they become too aggressive. However, for the most part, Ukrainians are holding off Russian infantry with machine gun fire and also artillery and drone support.

Watch the full report:

Read also:

Frontline update: Russian progress in Bakhmut has stalled

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