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Ukraine war latest: Ukraine makes localized advances near Bakhmut

by Asami Terajima May 13, 2023 12:02 AM 3 min read
A Ukrainian infantryman of the 57th Separate Motorized Infantry Brigade takes cover in a trench at an undisclosed location near the town of Bakhmut, Donetsk Oblast, on April 13, 2023. (Anatolii Stepanov/AFP via Getty Images)
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Key developments on May 12:

  • Ukraine's Defense Ministry: Ukraine advances 2 kilometers toward Bakhmut
  • Military: Signs of exhaustion evident among Russian forces on battlefield
  • 24th Separate Assault Battalion says it recaptured Russian positions southwest of Bakhmut
  • Wagner chief attacks Russian Defense Ministry, calls on Shoigu to visit Bakhmut

Ukrainian forces advanced two kilometers toward Bakhmut "without losing a single position" this week, Ukraine's Defense Ministry said on May 12.

Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar also claimed that Russian forces had suffered heavy losses as they defended their positions in Bakhmut, which she believes still holds a significant value for them.

Eastern Operational Command spokesman Serhiy Cherevaty also reported a successful operation in the Bakhmut area in recent days, saying on television that Ukraine has conducted counterattacks and there are signs of exhaustion among the Russian forces on the battlefield.

"The first marker of this exhaustion is the almost daily hysterical statements of criminal Prigozhin," Cherevaty said. "Bakhmut remains the epicenter of hostilities."

Cherevaty said the counterattacks pushed back Russian forces between 250 meters to 1.5 kilometers, naming a smaller estimate than the Defense Ministry.

The 24th Separate Assault Battalion "Aidar" said on May 12, together with other units, it liberated some territories south of Ivanivske, a village near Bakhmut.

The Russian Defense Ministry confirms a series of Ukrainian counterattacks near Bakhmut.

Ukrainian forces launched counterattacks in the Soledar direction "along the entire line of contact between the parties with a length of more than 95 kilometers," Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in a daily briefing on May 12.

Konashenkov, as always said, Russia repelled all attacks.

Wagner Group Chief Yevgeny Prigozhin accused the Russian Defense Ministry of calling a retreat of Russian soldiers in Bakhmut a "​​​​regrouping" to seize more advantageous positions, admitting that Ukrainian forces have launched "a number of successful counterattacks."

The Wagner chief offered Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to visit the Russian-controlled part of Bakhmut to assess the battlefield situation, referring to the official's "many years of warfare experience," although he has no real background in military command.

Ukrainian military intelligence said on May 12 that Prigozhin's public conflict with Shoigu and ​​Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov "testify to their fear of responsibility for the inevitable defeat of Moscow."

"​​None of this trio wants to take responsibility," military intelligence spokesperson Andriy Yusov said in a Telegram post.

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Bakhmut counteroffensive

Ukraine appears to be making localized attacks near Bakhmut, breaking the Russian defense lines south of the city.

In a video published by Ukraine's 3rd Separate Assault Brigade deployed near Bakhmut, one of the Ukrainian soldiers yells, "forward!" as they attack a Russian position and dugout with a grenade.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a D.C.-based think-tank analyzing the war in Ukraine, confirmed in its May 11 report that Ukraine has made localized advances in the Bakhmut area, where heavy fighting has raged since last summer.

"​​Ukrainian forces likely broke through some Russian lines in localized counteroffensives near Bakhmut, prompting responses from Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin and the Russian Ministry of Defense," the ISW said.

The think-tank added that Russia's deployment of "low-quality" personnel on the flanks around Bakhmut suggests that the Russian Defense Ministry has "largely abandoned the aim of encircling a significant number of Ukrainian forces there."

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