Attritional assaults in the Bakhmut area and “pervasive issues with Russian combat capability” make Russian forces vulnerable to localized Ukrainian attacks, the Institute for the Study of War said in its report on May 10.
“The Russian military command’s apparent commitment of elements of a formation that has suffered two successive defeats to the Bakhmut axis alongside already attrited Wagner elements likely offer Ukrainian forces opportunities to exploit with limited counterattacks,” the report said.
The D.C.-based think tank cited geopolitical footage as evidence of Ukraine capitalizing on the vulnerabilities during successful limited counterattacks around Bakhmut on May 9 and 10.
Despite the counterattacks, Wagner mercenary group continued offensive operations in the area. Recent communications from Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin claim that his group has not received the requested ammunition from Russia, likely limiting combat capability.
At the same time, Russian proxies continue attempts to consolidate control in the occupied Ukrainian territories. The report referenced “the removal of Ukrainian residents from their homes in occupied areas under the pretext of humanitarian evacuations.”