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UK Defense Ministry: Russian troops 'have regained some momentum' in Bakhmut

by The Kyiv Independent news desk April 7, 2023 11:54 AM 2 min read
Ukrainian soldiers drive a tank amid Russia-Ukraine war on the frontline of Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine on March 29, 2023. (Muhammed Enes Yildirim/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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Russian forces have recently "regained some momentum" in the battle for Ukraine's eastern city of Bakhmut after a delay in their advance since late March, the U.K. Defense Ministry reported on April 7.

Russia's regular army, likely including airborne troops, has probably "reinforced the area, and Russia is again using artillery more effectively in the sector," the ministry wrote in its latest intelligence update.

Russian troops have made further progress and highly likely advanced into the city center, capturing the western bank of the Bakhmutka River, according to the report. Ukraine's key supply route, road 0506 west of the city linking the towns of Chasiv Yar and Khromove, is "likely severely threatened" at the moment.

"There is a realistic possibility that, locally, Wagner and Russian MoD commanders have paused their ongoing feud and improved cooperation," reads the update.

The Kremlin-controlled mercenary Wagner Group has been assisting Russia's military in trying to capture Bakhmut for almost eight months as Moscow tries to consolidate its grip over the entirety of Donetsk Oblast. Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin has publicly criticized Russia's Defense Ministry on numerous occasions for not providing "enough" ammunition to his troops.

UK Defense Ministry: Russia likely to ‘eventually’ replace Wagner with other PMCs in Ukraine
Russia may partner with other private military contractors for combat in Ukraine amid ongoing tensions with the Wagner mercenary group, the U.K. Defense Ministry wrote in its April 4 intelligence update.

Prigozhin admitted on April 6 that Ukrainian forces are not retreating from Bakhmut and said that a Russian offensive is "out of the question" at the moment. It contradicted his own earlier statement that Russian forces "had taken Bakhmut de jure."

Prigozhin claimed on April 2 that his forces had captured the city administration building in Donetsk Oblast's Bakhmut, raising the Russian flag there. The Ukrainian military promptly denied his claims, saying that the building had long been destroyed by shelling.

Ukrainian military downplays Wagner Group claims on Bakhmut capture
Ukrainian Armed Forces spokesperson Serhiy Cherevatyi downplayed Wagner mercenaries’ claim of allegedly raising the Russian flag over Bakhmut city hall, noting that it was already destroyed during fighting long ago.

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