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