Are we witnessing the beginning of the expected Ukrainian counteroffensive, which has been announced for weeks? In any case, Ukrainian forces claim to have broken through Russian lines and advanced several kilometers into the Donbas. According to the Ukrainian military, this advance would have occurred near Bakhmut, a devastated town that Russian forces have been trying to control for several months.
The two-kilometer advance had been rumored in recent days, and the Ukrainian General Staff officially announced it this morning. Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Ganna Maliar said in a statement on social networks that the enemy had suffered heavy losses and that they had not lost any positions in Bakhmut this week.
Meanwhile, the leader of the Russian paramilitary group Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin, accused Russian regular troops of “running away” from their positions near Bakhmut, where Kyiv has claimed an advance. Prigozhin claimed that defenses were “collapsing” and that the Russian General Staff was “softening up” the situation.
Importantly, the advance did not occur inside Bakhmut but on the outskirts of the city, which is consistent with what several Russian bloggers have been reporting on social networks.
The Russian military command has denied this breakthrough and stated in a statement that claims of Ukrainian advances do not correspond to reality. However, there is a sense of panic on Telegram channels fueled by Russian bloggers, who have reported an apparent retreat of the Russian army near Bakhmut. These bloggers and analysts are wondering if we are finally witnessing the start of the long-awaited Ukrainian counteroffensive. Some suggest that these moves could be a tactic to fix the Russian army in Bakhmut and force it to send reinforcements, thus risking the defense of other parts of the Donbas or the south of the country.
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