Russian troops ‘fall back to regroup’ north of Ukraine’s Bakhmut
Wagner forces chief has called the move a ‘rout’ as Ukraine announced gains made around the battlefield city.
Published On 12 May 202312 May 2023
Moscow has acknowledged that its forces had fallen back north of the battlefield city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, in a retreat that the head of Russia’s Wagner private army called a “rout”.
The setback for Russia comes after reports of Ukrainian advances around the city and suggests a coordinated push by Kyiv to encircle Russian forces in Bakhmut, which has been Moscow’s main objective for months during the war’s bloodiest fighting.
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It means both sides are now reporting the biggest Ukrainian gains in six months, although Ukraine has given few details and played down suggestions a long-planned counteroffensive had officially begun.
Russian Ministry of Defence spokesman Igor Konashenkov said Ukraine had launched an assault north of Bakhmut with more than 1,000 troops and up to 40 tanks, a scale that if confirmed would amount to the biggest Ukrainian offensive since November.
The Russians had repelled 26 attacks but troops in one area had fallen back to regroup in more favourable positions near the Berkhivka reservoir northwest of Bakhmut, Konashenkov said.