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Frontline update: Ukrainians lure Russian “Wagnerites” into artillery kill zone in Bakhmut

Situation in Donetsk’s Bakhhmut as of 2 May 2023. Screenshot from the video.
Article by: Reporting from Ukraine

The Ukrainian forces continue to hold their ground in the city of Bakhmut, Donetsk Oblast, by using their advantageous position to inflict heavy losses on Russian troops through artillery attacks.

Day 433: May 02

[quote]Today there is a lot of news from the East. Here, as Russians are trying to engulf the city [of Bakhmut] as fast as possible, they increased the size of their assault units and started attacking in large numbers. However, Ukrainians left them only a narrow pathway for possible advances, so when Russians launched their attack, they got right into a devastating artillery trap.[/quote]

Russian forces decided to focus on the western edge for four reasons. First of all, this is where the most important roads are that Ukrainians are using for delivering supplies, which Russians are trying to cut. Secondly, Ukrainians are using the western edge to protect Khromove and create crossfire, which is why a recent series of Russian attempts to take this village failed even though they were attacking it up to 10 times a day. Thirdly, the residential area in this region consists of small houses, which is a much less formidable fortification that requires fewer losses to overcome. And lastly, the alternative, which is storming the so-called citadel area, is much worse. Not only does it consist of 10-story buildings, where Ukrainians have prepared and equipped each and every floor for defense, but half of the ground in front if the citadel is empty. A Ukrainian fighter from the Aidar Battalion reported that the former military base is empty because it only had barracks, which were completely destroyed by artillery fire. He added that Ukrainians spot Russians in this region very rarely, and in such cases, there is usually no more than 2 troops that are conducting reconnaissance.

Due to the fact that the areas of Russian advancement are quite obvious and small, Ukrainians can leverage it to inflict even more losses on Russians. As noted by fighters from the 1st Border Detachment and 93rd Mechanized Brigade, Russians now make much bigger attacks, with each assault unit consisting of at least 20 troops. Such a high concentration of troops makes Russians more susceptible to Ukrainian artillery fire. And this is exactly the main task of Ukrainian artillery right now. Ukrainian fighters say artillery strikes are devastating and successfully stop Russian advancement. After carrying out the intense shelling, Ukrainians made a limited counterattack to push the Russians back.

Russians are also actively using their artillery, and the intensity of artillery strikes made many Ukrainian soldiers doubt the claims of Prigozhin that the Wagner forces do not have enough shells. Some of them speculated that he is saying that just to attract attention to himself.

In any case, after conducting a series of artillery strikes, Russians published a video of a destroyed Ukrainian armored personal carrier and claimed that they killed the commander of the 127th Brigade. The Ukrainian side responded to this piece of news and officially stated that this is not true.

A few days ago, the Ukrainian Commander of the Eastern Group of Forces once again visited Bakhmut in order to personally evaluate the state of defense and decide whether it is still sensible to hold the western part of Bakhmut. Some speculate that he also needed to check on the preparation for the so-called surprise for Russians, especially as Ukrainians have been experimenting with controlled explosions. As you remember, one of the versions is that Ukrainians will make a huge series of explosions along the entire contact line before the withdrawal. Recently, Russians published a video of what they described as a failed controlled explosion of the building. However, this building is located on the opposite end of the front line, which clearly suggests that Ukrainians are experimenting with loads before putting them to practice.

Ukrainians also released a video showing the previously destroyed building on Korsunskogo Street from a different angle. This confirms my previous analysis of the situation and confirms that Ukrainians are still holding the southern line.

Overall, Ukrainians assumed strong positions in the high-rise buildings, leaving Russians with a very limited number of options, which is pushing around the Industrial College or the outer edge of the city. By forcing Russians to attack along such narrow lines, Ukrainians lure Russians into a trap because they are immediately attacking the overpopulated sectors with artillery, inflicting disproportionately high losses. And Wagners continue attacking in large numbers because they are being pushed by their command to symbolically finish the Battle by 9th May.

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