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Frontline report: Ukraine liberates 17.5 km² near Bakhmut, unblocks supply route

Situation near Bakhmut as of 12 May 2023. Map: screenshot from the video
Frontline report: Ukraine liberates 17.5 km² near Bakhmut, unblocks supply route
Ukrainian forces advance in the Bakhmut direction, regaining more than 17 km² of territory and establishing control over strategic heights. Ukraine’s counter-encirclement operation in the area results in the unblocking of the main supply line.

Day 443: May 12

On 12 May, there was a lot of good news from the Bakhmut direction. Here, Ukrainians leveraged their newly gained territories on Bakhmut’s northern flank and increased the scale of the operation even more.

After Ukrainians saw how Russian troops from the 9th Motorized Rifle Brigade started to abandon their positions, it was decided to maintain the momentum and push along the lake. Due to the problems with communication, some Russian detachments did not understand what was going on and still defended their trenches in front of the Khromove road, even though they were already virtually surrounded. Ukrainians reinforced this region with mortar crews and unleashed devastating fire on the remaining Russian troops. Due to the density of the coverage of these isolated strong points, Russian soldiers were quickly eliminated, and the Khromove road was completely unblocked.

After a quick regrouping, Ukrainians opened two lines of attack: north of the lake and south of the lake. Regarding the northern attack, Ukrainians rolled out their tank and undermined Russian defense with rapid-fire while an armored fighting vehicle brought the Ukrainian assault unit closer to the enemy positions. As a result, Russian troops were eliminated, and the positions became under Ukrainian control.

Regarding the southern attack, Ukrainians almost reach the settlement of Berkhivka with little resistance. Several hours later, Russian forces attempted to make a counterattack and used two trucks to deliver several assault units to the tree line. However, Ukrainians immediately responded with artillery fire, and Russian soldiers ran away before the Ukrainians even managed to correct their fire, so they didn’t incur any losses.

Later, the Russian Ministry of Defense published a situational report and claimed that the previous day, Ukrainians conducted 25 attacks in the Bakhmut direction, engaging up to 3 battalions. They claimed that all attacks were repelled. However, Russian forces still conducted a tactical retreat to better positions.

In the evening, the Head of the Wagner Group, Prigozhin, said that the Russian Ministry of Defense lied. In reality, Ukrainians penetrated Russian defenses by multiple kilometers because their troops abandoned their positions, and Ukrainians not only completely unblocked the main supply line but also established control over the tactical heights. If we look at the topographic map, we can see that this is true, and now Ukrainians control positions that are more than 50 meters higher than Russian positions in Berkhivka and Bakhmut. And since attacking the lowlands is much easier, Ukrainians threaten to cut Bakhmut from the north in the near future. Prigozhin also reported that his forces advanced by around 100 meters in their area of responsibility. Ukrainian Spokesman for the Eastern Group of Forces reported that over the last three days of active counterattacks, Ukrainians had freed 17.3 square kilometers of the ground, excluding the May 12 significant advances.

Several hours ago, a fighter from the famous 93rd Mechanized Brigade reported that one of their Rifle Battalions had reinforced the Khromove region, which clearly indicates further development of the counter-encirclement operation. The ability to quickly maneuver between the flanks and change the location of the next big counterattack once again paid off and allowed Ukrainians to regain the initiative and improve their tactical position significantly.

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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