The assault on the city of Artyomovsk (Bakhmut) continues, after the airborne units and other detachments of the Russian Army secured the flanks and took control of the villages on the outskirts, the assault groups of the Wagner PMC increased pressure on the Ukrainian positions in the western districts of the city. The militants of the Armed Forces of Ukraine have turned residential buildings into their fortresses and are firing from private apartments in an attempt to stop Russian advance.
Fighting continues in the area of the railway station west of the center of Bakhmut. To the south of the station, clashes are ongoing along May 9 Street, where Russian fighters are pushing Ukrainian forces to the west in order to straighten the front.
At the moment, the Armed Forces of Ukraine are in control of the last three small quarters in the west of the city, which are Cheremu, Novy and the outskirts of Bakhmut near Khromovo.
The ongoing Russian advance forced the Ukrainian military to concentrate the large grouping in a small area, what makes them an easy target for Russian aviation and artillery. According to unconfirmed reports spread by several military accounts on the social networks, British intelligence warned the Office of the Ukrainian President and the General Staff of the AFU that the Russian army is allegedly preparing to strike the Ukrainian fortified positions in the west of Bakhmut with heavy bombs, including high-explosive FAB-1500 bombs. British intelligence reportedly recommended to disperse Ukrainian units so that they are not destroyed by air attacks. However, the Ukrainian military has not enough space for any manoeuvres.
US Humvees are escaping Bakhmut:
British-made FV103 Spartan destroyed in Bakhmut:
Since the Ukrainian Army is still in control of the last road leading to the city from Chasov Yar, the Wagner PMC and the Russian military are likely set to destroy as many Ukrainian military personnel and equipment as possible on its way to the Bakhmut grinder. The easy targets include the best fighters of the Ukrainian special forces and mobilized soldiers who have recently learned to hold weapons in their hands.
According to Wagner representatives, the Ukrainian Army is suffering daily losses of up to 450 militants in Bakhmut. At the same time, they confirmed that the Ukrainian military command continues transfering the newly formed battalions of the so-called territorial defence to the region, they mainly consist of poorly trained fighters who are used as cannon fodder on the front lines.
According to Russian military sources, units of the former 3rd operational Brigade of the National Guard of Ukraine, as well as units of the 241st Territorial Defense Brigade, are located in this area after the withdrawal west of the railway and the Bakhmut-2 station.
Ukrainian servicemen hiding in the ruins:
Amid the heavy battles, Wagner fighters continue evacuation of civilians from the war-torn city. On the Easter eve, the head of the Wagner Group personally congratulated a group of refugees who were recently taken from Bakhmut by his fighters. Russians are joking, civilians are grateful to their rescuers, describe how they were surprised by the kindness of Russian fighters who took them out from their basements and secured:
Prigozhin also made a ‘gift’ to the Ukrainian military on the eve of the great Orthodox holiday. He ordered to release a group of Ukrainian prisoners of war.
“That’s all, guys, have a nice day! Happy Easter to you,” says Russian fighter. Some of Ukrainian POWs answer: “You too.”
The Ukrainian side confirmed that 130 Ukrainian servicemen who were captured in the Bakhmut, Kherson, Zaporozhie regions had returned home. However, the Russian side did not officially comment on the exchange. According to some photos shared by the Ukrainian sources, it was supposed that about 30-40 Russian servicemen were exchanged; but the real number was not officially revealed. It is assumed that their number is much smaller and they could not be shown on the media after tortures they suffered in Ukrainian captivity.
The battle for Bakhmut is ongoing not only on the streets of the city but also in dozen villages located in the region. So far, neither of the warring sides has attempted any large-scale offensive on the city outskirts, but heavy positional battles are ongoing for each of those settlements. Support of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation on the flanks of Bakhmut for the “Orchestra” fighters operating inside the city is strategically important.
So far, the threat of Ukrainian offensive aimed to unblock Bakhmut remains. On April 16, Wagner representatives reported that the AFU concentrated a group of up to 80 thousand servicemen in the area. The Armed Forces of Ukraine are taking measures to form strike groups for flank attacks and are increasing the concentration of artillery systems in the region:
The first group aimed to unblock Bakhmut from the north is concentrating in the area of Rai-Alexandrovka, Malinovka and Slavyansk. To unblock the city from the south, the Ukrainian command is concentrating forces in the areas of Konstantinovka, Predtechino, Nikolaevka.
Wagner sources also confirmed that Ukrainian militants are not suffering from any shortage of weapons and ammunition. The Ukrainian military is accumulating both Soviet artillery samples and Western 155 mm artillery systems, such as M777, Paladin as well as Krab self-propelled guns, Panzer 2000, HIMARS MLRS, etc.
The reinforcement of the Ukrainian grouping has been ongoing for months and the Russian side has already taken the necessary measures ans secured the flanks by the professional units of the Russian Army. However, any offensive operations of Ukrainian forces are yet to bring any results. The Ukrainian military observers are mainly blaming the abnormally bad weather conditions in Ukraine. Rainy weather is likely to continue in the coming weeks. The wet ground prevents the Ukrainian heavy military equipment to cross the fields. The General Staff of Ukraine admired such an excuse for its impotence and even claimed that the Russian army is allegedly using climate weapons to prevent the AFU from launching a counterattack. Obviously, these are nothing but attempts of Ukrainian propaganda to whitewash the Ukrainian military and hide any information about the upcoming offensive.