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Defense ministry confirms Ukrainian advance in Bakhmut area

by Dinara Khalilova May 12, 2023 11:30 AM 3 min read
Ukrainian soldiers conduct operation with BMP-3 military vehicle at training camp amid Russia-Ukraine war in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine on May 11, 2023. (Vincenzo Circosta/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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Ukrainian soldiers have advanced two kilometers toward Bakhmut and haven't lost any positions in the area in the past week, Ukraine's Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said on May 12.

According to Maliar, Russian troops "failed to implement their plans and "suffered heavy losses of manpower" on the front line. "At the same time, the enemy gives false information about the lack of weapons, which probably aims to justify the real situation," the Ukrainian official added.

She likely referred to Wagner Group boss Yevgeny Prigozhin's recent rant directly blaming Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and General Staff head Valery Gerasimov for the fighters' deaths, saying that Wagner was being deprived of the ammunition to continue the assault on Bakhmut.

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After seeming to have calmed down over early spring, the internal conflict between Wagner mercenary group boss Yevgeny Prigozhin and the Russian Defense Ministry has escalated dramatically. In the early morning of May 5, Prigozhin recorded a video in front of what he claimed to be the bodies of doz…

Meanwhile, the General Staff of Ukraine's Armed Forces reported in its May 12 morning update that Russian forces continued offensive operations in Donetsk Oblast's Bakhmut.

Ukraine's latest advance in Bakhmut was first reported on May 10 by Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi, the commander of Ukraine's Land Forces, who said that Russian troops "could not resist the onslaught of the Ukrainian defenders and retreated to a distance of up to two kilometers."

Late on May 11, several Russian military bloggers reported that Ukraine had allegedly started the counteroffensive and gained some positions in Donetsk Oblast's Bakhmut. Russian Defense Ministry denied such claims, saying "the general situation remains under control."

On the same day, Prigozhin accused President Volodymyr Zelensky of lying after he said in an interview that Ukraine needed more time to prepare for the counteroffensive. Prigozhin, the head of Russia's state-backed private mercenary group, said on his Telegram channel that Ukraine's counteroffensive was allegedly "in full swing."

Ukrainian military officials earlier warned, as cited by CNN, that the counterattacks around Bakhmut mentioned by Prigozhin are part of a "positional struggle" and not necessarily connected to a greater counteroffensive effort.

A senior U.S. military official and a top Western official have told CNN that Ukraine's Armed Forces began "shaping operations" ahead of the long-awaited counteroffensive. Shaping, a standard tactic developed before major joint operations, involves attacking targets such as weapons depots, command centers, armored vehicles, and artillery systems to prepare the battlefield for the advancing force.

Putin claims ‘real war’ unleashed against Russia during Victory Day speech
During his address at the annual Victory Day celebration at Moscow’s Red Square to commemorate the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II, Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed that “a real war has once again been unleashed against our Motherland.”
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