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Frontline report: Ukrainians crush Russian bridgehead in Bakhmut, send Wagner Group into panic

uk intel russia's prison population drops 150000 amid war recruitment since 2022 screenshot from 2023 video prigozhin scolding his troops wagner
Screenshot from a 2023 video of Prigozhin scolding his troops
Frontline report: Ukrainians crush Russian bridgehead in Bakhmut, send Wagner Group into panic
Article by: Reporting from Ukraine
Prigozhin is furious, as Ukrainian forces have liberated 3 km of land and smashed a vital Russian position in Bakhmut with reportedly 500 Wagner fighters killed. The Russian 72nd brigade gave up its positions and escaped from the Ukrainian attack.

The biggest news today once again comes from the Bakhmut direction. Yesterday, Ukrainians cleared up to 1 km of trenches on the northern flank of Bakhmut, and today they liberated 3 square kilometers on the southern flank.

The day began with Prigozhin’s announcement that Ukrainians had launched a powerful counterattack south of the Ivanivske highway and breached the Russian defense, penetrating it by half a kilometer by 10 am. He said he had received numerous messages from his soldiers saying that the Russian 72nd Brigade had abandoned their positions and run away as soon as they saw Ukrainian tanks and armored fighting vehicles. He also said that the Russian Ministry of Defense had deceived him and cut off supplies again after the first day.

Prigozhin raised the alarm and said that now the Wagner Group was not only without ammunition but also with exposed flanks, which Ukrainians would definitely try to exploit to launch a counteroffensive. By evening, the Ukrainian side confirmed that almost everything Prigozhin said was true and showed combat footage, where Russian soldiers were indeed abandoning their positions and running away before Ukrainian assault units even reached them.

It seems that the emotional buildup of anxious anticipation of the Ukrainian counteroffensive broke the Russian spirit, and they thought that staying on the zero line was certain death. However, Ukrainian fighters also reported that at least 20% of troops were not regular army but belonged to the Wagner Group and that they had abandoned their positions and run away together.

The assault was carried out by the fighters from the 3rd Assault Brigade. You may still remember that these were the fighters who stopped the momentum of the Russian advance in the Khromove region and cleared a lot of trenches. Soon they were relocated to an unspecified area, which turned out to be the southern flank. Ukrainians attacked Russian trenches with tanks and armored vehicles and eliminated those who did not flee, which amounted to 64 troops when the report came out and is likely higher now as the operation continues.

As a result, Ukrainians completely eliminated the second Russian bridgehead on the western side of the canal. Previously, Russians also had another bridgehead near the forest, which Ukrainians eliminated about a month ago.

Prigozhin was furious at the 72nd Brigade. He said that his army had lost 500 men to establish a powerful bridgehead – the positions were ready, and all the 72nd Brigade had to do was to use the trenches and hold the defense — but in one day, they lost half of it. Because of the collapsing front line, Gazprom’s Private Military Company refused to go to these positions as they did not want to deal with the falling apart front. The problems on the flanks exacerbated the difficulties that Wagner forces were facing in the city itself.

Tonight, Ukrainian soldiers reported that they noticed that Russians had started moving into the grey zone, which made Ukrainians expect a huge storming operation during the night. However, it did not happen because of an extensive HIMARS raid across the whole Bakhmut direction. It was reported that Ukrainians had destroyed multiple ammunition depots, concentrations of forces and equipment, quickly creating shortages. These shortages likely forced the Wagner Group to reconsider its plans and go on the defensive, especially given the high level of uncertainty and the necessity to face an imminent large-scale mechanized assault or counteroffensive operation.

In our daily frontline report, we pair up with the military blogger Reporting from Ukraine to keep you informed about what’s happening on the battlefield in the Russo-Ukrainian war.

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