Breaking News
Get 40% Off 0
👀 Reveal Warren Buffett's stock picks that are beating the S&P 500 by +174.3% Get 40% Off

Russia acknowledges retreat north of Bakhmut, Wagner boss calls it a 'rout'

Published May 12, 2023 09:39AM ET Updated May 12, 2023 04:21PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
© Reuters. Ukrainian servicemen ride atop of a tank on a road to the frontline town of Bakhmut, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Donetsk region, Ukraine May 12, 2023. REUTERS/Sofiia Gatilova

By Olena Harmash and Ivan Lyubysh-Kirdey

KYIV/KOSTIANTYNIVKA, Ukraine (Reuters) -Moscow acknowledged on Friday that its forces had fallen back north of Ukraine's battlefield city of Bakhmut after a new Ukrainian offensive, in a retreat that the head of Russia's Wagner private army called a rout. 

The setback for Russia, which follows similar reports of Ukrainian advances south of the city, suggests a coordinated push by Kyiv to encircle Russian forces in Bakhmut, Moscow's main objective for months during the war's bloodiest fighting.

"In three days of counter-offensive activity, the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the Bakhmut sector have liberated 17.3 sq. km (6.6 sq. miles) of territory," Serhiy Cherevatyi, spokesman for the "east" group of Ukrainian forces, said on the Telegram messaging app.

Both sides are now reporting the biggest Ukrainian gains in six months, although Ukraine has given few details and played down suggestions a huge, long-planned counteroffensive has officially begun.

Russian Defence Ministry 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.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the Wagner forces that have led the campaign in the city, said in an audio message: "What Konashenkov described, unfortunately, is called 'a rout' and not a regrouping".

In a separate video message, Prigozhin said the Ukrainians had seized high ground overlooking Bakhmut and opened the main highway leading into the city from the West.

"The loss of the Berkhivka reservoir - the loss of this territory they gave up - that's 5 sq km, just today," Prigozhin said.

"The enemy has completely freed up the Chasiv Yar-Bakhmut road which we had blocked. The enemy is now able to use this road, and secondly they have taken tactical high ground under which Bakhmut is located," said Prigozhin, who has repeatedly denounced Russia's regular military over the past week for failing to supply his men in Bakhmut.

Russian-installed officials said two missiles hit an industrial complex in Luhansk, in Russian-occupied territory around 100 km (60 miles) behind the front. Video posted on the internet showed huge columns of smoke above the city. The strike, just beyond the range of the main battlefield rockets Ukraine has previously deployed, came a day after Britain announced it was sending longer-range cruise missiles.

The Ukrainian advance near Bakhmut appears to have begun on Tuesday when a Ukrainian unit southwest of the city said it defeated a Russian brigade, recapturing a swathe of land. Prigozhin also said the Russian brigade there fled.

Reuters has not been able to independently verify the situation in the area.

In its evening report on Friday, the Ukrainian military command described fighting in Bakhmut and Russian shelling of nearby towns, but made no mention of any advance or Russian withdrawal.

Prigozhin, whose fighters have been battling to push Ukrainian forces out of Bakhmut's Western outskirts, has said the north and south flanks, guarded by regular Russian troops, were crumbling. Russia's defence ministry denies this.

In his nightly address, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the Russians were "already internally ready for defeat".

"They have already lost this war in their minds. We must put pressure on them every day so that their sense of defeat turns into their flight, their mistakes, their losses."

TURNING POINT

In Kostiantynivka, about 20 km (12 miles) southwest of Bakhmut, firefighters were battling a blaze at a house that went up in flames after it was struck by Russian shells.

"It hit the roof and the roof collapsed. My neighbour rushed outside and started shouting, asking for help," said Oleksandr Lazorka, who lives next door. "We pulled out a blind woman - an elderly, blind woman - from under the rubble and then the fire erupted."

The 15-month-old war in Ukraine is at a turning point, after six months during which Kyiv kept its troops on the defensive while Russia mounted a winter campaign that brought the bloodiest ground combat in Europe since World War Two but yielded scant gains.

Since the start of this year, Kyiv has received hundreds of new Western tanks and armoured vehicles, holding them back in preparation for a counteroffensive to recapture occupied territory.

Ukrainian officials have played down the suggestion that their offensive is already under way: Zelenskiy said in an interview this week Kyiv needed more time for equipment to arrive. Prigozhin called that deceptive and said the Bakhmut advances amounted to the start of Kyiv's campaign.

Russia acknowledges retreat north of Bakhmut, Wagner boss calls it a 'rout'
 

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.
  • Any comment you publish, together with your investing.com profile, will be public on investing.com and may be indexed and available through third party search engines, such as Google.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Comments (1)
Brad Albright
Brad Albright May 12, 2023 6:33PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Did anybody happen to see the video of the Russian soldier wounded by a Ukrainian drone in his trench, put his gun to his chin and pull the trigger? I could only image the terrible horror that guy must have felt in his last second when he realized he wasted his life for a maniac's folly.
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email