In the last four days, the Russian military has likely redeployed several battalions to the Bakhmut sector.
Following Ukrainian successes at Bakhmut’s flanks and growing concerns about Wagner mercenary group's reliability, Russia probably seeks to claim at least some level of success in the war, the British Defense Intelligence reports on May 20.
This move represents a serious commitment since Russia retains only a few uncommitted units in Ukraine.
The battle of Bakmut has been ongoing since August 2022 and has been described as one of the largest and heaviest engagements in the war.
Moscow grows increasingly reliant on the Wagner PMC in the Bakhmut battle.
Recently, the PMC’s founder Prigozhin threatened to withdraw his forces from the embattled Donetsk Oblast city, and according to the Washington Post leaks, he has been in contact with Ukrainian military intelligence.
Prigozhin’s recent moves may have undermined the Kremlin’s trust in Wagner, making regular army reinforcements a more secure option.
In the meantime, Ukraine’s forces have seized the initiative around Bakhmut and advanced up to 500 meters in some areas.