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Frontline report: Ukrainian forces successfully establish defense line along railways in Bakhmut

Situation in and around Donetsk’s Bakhmut as of 14 April 2023. Map: DeepStateMap
Frontline report: Ukrainian forces successfully establish defense line along railways in Bakhmut
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 414: April 13

“Today, the biggest news is coming from the East. Here, over the last three months, the area of operation of Wagner forces has [shrank] from 90 km to just 5 km.”

The freshest reports suggest that Wagner forces failed to maintain such a high number of assaults per day because today it was revealed that Wagner Group asked Russian conventional forces to help them inside Bakhmut. Ukrainian fighters confirmed this information today in the aftermath of massive changes in the southern part of the region.

Here, in order to even out the front line, Ukrainian forces withdrew from the high-rise buildings east of the stadium Avangard and moved closer to the main defense line along the railways. Russian forces noticed the movement and tried to move rapidly into the left territories. As Russians got close, it became quite risky to continue withdrawing across the railways, so Ukrainians decided to make a swift counterattack. Today, a Ukrainian soldier from the 240th Assault Brigade reported that they conducted a raid on Russian positions east of Kosmonavtov Street, which caught Russians by surprise. As a result, Russians lost dozens of men, and another Ukrainian soldier involved in this attack said that it ensured that Russians would spend the whole night collecting their fallen soldiers.

But most importantly, Ukrainians noticed that many Russian troops did not belong to the Wagner Group. Yesterday, the Head of the Wagner forces, Prigozhin, said that Wagners only withdrew from the flanks and are the only forces that operate inside Bakhmut. Several months ago, Wagner Group had enough forces to be solely responsible for a 90 km front from Siversk to Toretsk. Today they do not have enough forces to operate on a 5 km front. It seems like Ukrainians indeed almost achieved their objective of completely destroying Wagner Group Private Military Company, which is the only Russian formation that showed some results.

Russia’s Wagner units intensify assault on Bakhmut as MoD forces provide relief on Wagner flanks – UK intel

However, the bad news for Russians did not end there. As I said previously, it is highly unlikely that Ukrainians will just leave intact high-rise buildings for Russian snipers. Several hours ago, Ukrainians released footage showing how they distantly blew up one high-rise building after another. Some Wagner fighters complained that on top of mining buildings, Ukrainians also frequently set them on fire, which not only does not allow Russians to move faster but also leaves them very few tactically meaningful positions.

When it comes to the epicenter of all fights, the train station, despite the claims of Russian sources, the train station remains under Ukrainian control. A Ukrainian soldier reported at 10 pm that another Russian attempt to advance toward the station was repelled. He said that Russians are heavily relying on artillery and aviation to undermine Ukrainian defense here. Recently released footage shows Russian Grads located somewhere near Pokrovske firing west towards the sunset, in the direction of Bakhmut. In between the assaults, these Grad systems use incendiary shells to burn everything down. As a result, the buildings surrounding the train station are almost entirely black from burning, although, judging by the results, it did not help them much.

In the southern part of the region, the Ukrainian 1st Border Detachment reported achieving some progress. As you remember, for the last two days, they were largely on the defensive and were repelling intense attacks that lasted for up to 3 hours each. Today, Wagners started sending fewer troops in the same attacks, losing a full squad at a time. A soldier from the Aidar Battalion said that the control over Korsunskogo Street has increased compared to the last few days.

Overall, the establishment of a powerful defense line along the railways allowed Ukrainians to withstand the most challenging days of the renewed Wagner offensive effort and inflict substantial losses on their forces. All Russian sources are saying that there is no sign that Ukrainians are preparing to leave Bakhmut, so in order to prevent a premature culmination of their offensive, Wagner Group was urgently reinforced by regular Russian troops that are already fighting side by side with mercenaries.

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