Ukraine on Saturday said its armed forces were "moving forward" in the Bakhmut sector, in what the head of the mercenary group Wagner has described as a “rout” for Russian forces.

"Our soldiers are moving forward in some areas of the front, and the enemy is losing equipment and manpower," Commander of Ukrainian ground forces Oleksandr Syrskyi said on social media.

On Friday, Kyiv said its troops had advanced two kilometres near the besieged city. Russia’s defense ministry then acknowledged its forces had fallen back but said it was for strategic reasons and they had taken up a better defensive position in the Maloilinivka area, a move that took advantage of "the favourable conditions of the Berkhivka reservoir".

The Kremlin’s seemingly calm response to Ukraine’s advances were in stark contrast to that of Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner mercenary group, who is spearheading Moscow's attack on Bakhmut.

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On Friday afternoon he accused the Russian army of "fleeing" from around the city.

"This is not called regrouping, this is fleeing," Prigozhin said in an audio statement posted on social media. 

In a separate video message, Prigozhin said the defence ministry units "simply went fleeing" from positions around north and south of the city.

"The flanks are failing. The front is collapsing,” he said.

Later on Saturday afternoon, Russia said its forces were still pushing inside Bakhmut and had wrested control of an area in the eastern Ukrainian city.

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"In the Donetsk direction, assault detachments liberated a block in the northwestern part of the city of Artemovsk," the defence ministry said, referring to Bakhmut by its Russian name.

The claim has not been verified but western analysts have confirmed that Ukraine has gained ground.

The British Ministry of Defence (MoD) said in its daily report on Saturday that over the last four days “elements of Russia’s 72nd Separate Motor Rifle Brigade (72 SMRB) likely withdrew in bad order from their positions on the southern flank of the Bakhmut operation.” 

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“Ukrainian forces regained at least a kilometre of territory,” the MoD added.

Referencing geolocated footage like that in the tweet below, the Institute for the Study of War said video of “Russian forces fleeing Ukrainian artillery fire on the southern bank of the Berkhivske Reservoir” confirms claims that “Ukrainian forces made gains northwest of Bakhmut in the area between Bohdanivka and Berkhivka.”

https://twitter.com/region776/status/1656894839710179328

An Kyiv Post analysis of other available sources on Friday afternoon, found elements of 24th Assault Battalion “Aidar” claimed that they captured nearly a kilometer of ground near the village Ivankivske, Bakhmut region, parallel to Thursday’s attacks by 3rd Assault Brigade. The 24th defeated elements of Russia’s 4th Separate Motor Rifle Brigade and 374th Separate Rifle Battalion in the action, the unit’s press section said.

Kirill Sazonov, an operator in the Bakhmut-based drone reconnaissance unit Green, in a Thursday evening web post said AFU units were advancing on both sides of the city and an envelopment of Russian troops was in progress. 

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Russian forces had ample artillery and were fighting to hold their positions, Sazonov said. He confirmed earlier reports elements infantrymen from 3rd Assault Brigade and local territorial defense units had advanced to the south of the city.

Saznonov further stated that soldiers from Ukraine’s 57th Brigade were involved in the “severe fighting” against members of the Russian mercenary group Wagner, and defeated the Russians with Ukrainian soldiers killed and wounded in the action. AFU forces advanced a kilometer, he said. This is part of a concerted AFU operation to outflank Russian forces from the north and south of Bakhmut, he said.

Images published by 127th Territorial Defense Brigade showed Russian infantry moving through a built-up area under observation of a Ukrainian night-vision equipped drone, and being pounded by howitzer strikes fired by 60th Mechanized Brigade artillery. The Territorial unit’s media section in a Facebook statement said the engagement took place in the Bakhmut sector. 

Earlier in the week, a fierce Ukrainian counterattack in the Bakhmut sector destroyed Russian tanks and infantry fighting vehicles, killing as many as 500 soldiers from the Wagner mercenary group, in the worst tactical defeat suffered by the Kremlin’s forces in months.

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In tough, close-in fighting, soldiers from Ukraine’s 3rd Assault Brigade, backed by T-64 tanks and M-113 armored personnel carriers, wiped out a chain of Russian defensive positions to the southwest of Bakhmut, advancing Ukrainian-controlled territory to the key Bakhmutovka River.

"Attempts by the defence ministry in the information field to sugarcoat the situation – it's leading and will lead to a global tragedy for Russia," Prigozhin said on Friday morning.

"For this reason, we must stop lying immediately," he added. A rivalry between Prigozhin and conventional army chiefs has come to the surface during the fight for Bakhmut, the longest and bloodiest of the conflict.

Prigozhin has repeatedly claimed that the Russian defence ministry was refusing to deliver ammunition and has accused its chiefs in vitriolic statements.

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Comments (7)

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Gerrymandering
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Time for a reality check the United States would cease to be a leader of the free world and destroy its self with infighting. Now if that's what you want so be it. Cause that dude with the orange hair is a disaster and the Florida man is a dolt. China will have the last laugh.

Publicus
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@Gerrymandering, you prefer the guy who, well, you know, the thing… and gets directions from the Easter Bunny?

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Gerrymandering
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With all,due respect to our American cousin's we will go on together and prevail over this evil war.

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Gerrymandering
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But they now know where to get a loan.

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Gerrymandering
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But they know how to a loan .

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aldol11
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Russian army will collapse slowly at first and then all of the sudden

Hplach
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@aldol11, Think Saigon

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Iam
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Again wow thanks for the tip but stop think and do this somewhere else. Holy molly.

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Iam
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Here you are again people are dying and your post makes no sense in this platform.

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