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Russia abandons idea of encircling Ukrainian forces in Bakhmut – ISW

Friday, 12 May 2023, 05:42
Russia abandons idea of encircling Ukrainian forces in Bakhmut – ISW

The deployment of low-skilled Russian forces on the flanks around Bakhmut indicates that the Russian Defence Ministry has abandoned its goal of encircling a significant number of Ukrainian forces in that area, says the daily report from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

Source: ISW

Quote: "The Russian Defence Ministry likely began a broader deprioritisation of the Bakhmut effort by January 2023 when the defence ministry cut off Wagner Group penal recruitment efforts, which likely prompted Prigozhin to ramp up the Soledar-Bakhmut effort in January and publicly complain about the lack of defence ministry support for his efforts starting in February 2023.


The Russian Defence Ministry briefly allocated more resources to the Bakhmut front line in March and April by sending T-90 tanks and Russian Airborne (VDV) forces to the Bakhmut area and assigning mobilised reservists to Wagner, however. Prigozhin claimed on 24 April that the Russian Defence Ministry only deployed irregular and degraded units to hold Bakhmut’s flanks.

The inability of these units to fulfil even this limited mission indicates that Russian flanks in Bakhmut and other similarly-manned areas of the front are likely vulnerable to Ukrainian counterattacks."

Details: The ISW noted that the distribution of Ukraine’s Defence Ministry forces, combined with changes on the battlefield also indicates that the danger of Russian encirclement of significant Ukrainian forces in Bakhmut has probably passed.

"Wagner forces will likely continue conducting frontal assaults in Bakhmut, which would allow Ukrainian forces to conduct organised withdrawals from threatened areas in a shallower partial envelopment rather than facing encirclement on a large scale," the ISW noted.

Background: Defenders from the 3rd Assault Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine defeated the units of the 72nd Motorized Rifle Brigade of the Russian Armed Forces near the city of Bakhmut, liberated part of the territory and captured the occupiers.

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