May 13, 2023


How Ukrainian forces denied Russia victory in Bakhmut by Victory Day (Siobhán O'Grady, Kamila Hrabchuk and Kostiantyn Khudov, May 12, 2023, Washington Post)

KYIV, Ukraine -- They started shelling at sunrise.

In the dawn haze, under the cover of their own artillery, small groups of Ukrainian soldiers advanced toward a Russian position on the outskirts of the embattled city of Bakhmut.

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Drone footage had identified an avenue of attack on Russian lines on the outskirts of the besieged city. Intelligence suggested the Russians were so focused on the intense street battles playing out inside they were not expecting an assault from this direction, according to two battalion commanders in Ukraine's Third Assault Brigade who helped plan and execute the operation and spoke by telephone.

For nine months, the bloody fight for this eastern city has dragged out inch by inch, with massive casualties on both the Russian and Ukrainian sides. Yevgeniy Prigozhin, the high-profile commander of the mercenary Wagner Group, promised to deliver the city by May 9, Russia's hugely important Victory Day celebration. By the end of April he claimed his forces had taken nearly the whole city.

Yet instead of giving Russian President Vladimir Putin a victory to announce in his speech in front of the Kremlin on Tuesday, Ukrainian forces scored a rare advance this week south of the city and held fast in the city center. The two commanders shared details of the surprise offensive, which Ukrainian ground forces commander Oleksandr Syrsky confirmed was successful.

Posted by at May 13, 2023 6:34 AM