Ukraine claims to have won Bakhmut after Russia denies it

Ukraine says it has regained ground in Bakhmut, a rare step forward after months of Russian victories in the east of the city. Ukraine Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar says Ukrainian army advanced two kilometers (1.2 miles) in a week. These statements signal a change in momentum in Bakhmut – but more broadly, there is no clear evidence of Ukraine’s long-awaited counterattack.

Russia denies Ukraine’s accusations but says its troops have regrouped in one area. The Russian Defense Ministry said that units of Russia’s Southern Forces Group have taken a better defensive position in the Maloilinivka region, taking into account “favorable conditions of the Berkhivka Reservoir”. Berkhivka is located in thenorthwest of Bakhmut.

However, the leader of Russia’s Wagner Mercenary Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, said what the Defense Ministry was talking about was “unfortunately called ‘leaking’, not ‘regrouping'”.
As the fierce and bloody battle continued, Bakhmut became symbolically important – although many experts question its tactical value. In a message on Telegram, Malyar said Bakhmut had become a target of “almost sacred” importance for Russia.

She accused the Kremlin on the one hand of claiming fake victories and spreading lies about the lack of weapons and ammunition on the other. Describing the “real situation” over the past week, Malyar said Russia suffered heavy losses in numbers as Ukraine advanced 2km without losing any position.

Earlier, Prigozhin accused Russian regular troops of abandoning their positions in Bakhmut.
“The conductions on the flanks is turning into the worst-case scenario,” he said.

And Russian military bloggers have reported on Ukrainian advances or troop movements in several areas.
Ukrainian forces may have advanced 2km in Bakhmut said The Institute for the Study of War.

And the US-based think tank said the Russian Defense Ministry’s acknowledgment of “Ukrainian counterattacks at an unusual rate” – denying them – showed “increasing panic”.

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