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Russians “almost completely lost the initiative and switched to defense” in Bakhmut direction – National Guard

Situation in the area of Bakhmut as of 1 June 2023. Map: Deepstatemap.
Russians “almost completely lost the initiative and switched to defense” in Bakhmut direction – National Guard

Russian forces have “completely lost the initiative and switched to defense on the ruins of the settlements destroyed by themselves” in the Bakhmut direction in Donetsk Oblast. Colonel Mykola Urshalovych, Deputy Director of the Department of Employment Planning of the Main Directorate of the National Guard of Ukraine, stated this at a briefing at the Military Media Center on 1 June.

“At the same time, the enemy has significantly increased the number of artillery attacks,” said Col. Urshalovych.

Ukrainian Ground Forces Commander Oleksandr Syrskyi put out a similar message:

“The enemy has switched to the defense. There has been a significant decrease in any active enemy [assault] actions, with an increase in the number of heavy weapon attacks, mainly artillery and mortars,” Syrskyi wrote on Telegram.

On 31 May, Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said that Russians halted their offensive activities in the Bakhmut area as they were regrouping and replacing the Wagner Group mercenaries with regular troops. The advances of Ukrainian troops on the flanks were also suspended a few days ago as both sides have been strengthening for further actions, she said.

The battle for the city of Bakhmut has been ongoing for many months now. In the course of the battle, the Russian forces destroyed most of the buildings in the city using heavy artillery and air bombs and took control of almost all of Bakhmut. Meanwhile, Ukrainian troops maintained control of a small neighborhood on the city’s southwestern edge and retook areas in the northern and southern flanks outside Bakhmut.

Outside the Bakhmut sector, the Russians tried to advance at the Kupianske, Lyman, and Avdiivka directions last week using “a large number of assault units,” but did not succeed and suffered losses, according to Urshalovych.

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