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No ‘Victory’ for Russia: Putin Lost Thousands of Soldiers in Bakhmut

Russian forces claim to have captured the town of Bakhmut after almost a year of fighting. 

Image from Ukraine Government - handout.

Russian forces claim to have captured the town of Bakhmut after almost a year of fighting. 

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Wagner Group private military company that has been leading the Russian operation in Bakhmut, claimed on Saturday that his forces now claim 100 percent of Bakhmut.

Bakhmut Has Fallen? 

Although the Russians are claiming the capture of Bakhmut, Ukrainian officials are stating that there is still fighting in the town.

Even if Ukrainian units are still defending, the Russian forces have managed to capture almost all of Bakhmut

Prigozhin stated that his mercenaries would be pulling back from the destroyed town in the coming days and be relieved by the Russian military.

In a video address, the leader of the barbarous mercenary group said that his mercenaries were sent in to attrite the Ukrainian forces and open the way for the Russian military. Whether Russia will be able to hold on to Bakhmut for long is another matter. 

In the last weeks, the Ukrainian military has launched a series of localized counterattacks to the north and south of the town, liberating a few miles of territory and threatening the Russian forces within the town. And there is the upcoming large-scale counteroffensive in the works, though it is uncertain where the Ukrainian military leadership will decide to strike when the time comes. 

No doubt Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin will claim victory in Bakhmut and celebrate it. But in the large, strategic picture, that is a victory for Ukraine. 

Putin has had to reappraise his objectives several times in this war.

From capturing Kyiv and overthrowing the Ukrainian government in three days, the Russian leader is now forced to celebrate the capture of a pile of rubbles with no strategic benefit and at the cost of approximately 100,000 killed or wounded of his troops.

The “special military operation” in Ukraine isn’t going well for the Kremlin, and Bakhmut is an example of that. 

Russian Casualties 

Meanwhile, on day 451 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Russian forces continue to take heavy casualties on the ground.  

Over the last 24 hours, the Russian forces have lost more than 700 troops killed or wounded.

But they have also suffered heavy losses in weapon systems. Over the same period, the Russian military and Wagner Group have lost more than 80 heavy weapon systems, such as tanks, artillery pieces, armored personnel carriers, and infantry fighting vehicles. 

Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Sunday, Ukrainian forces have killed and wounded approximately 203,160 Russian troops.

Equipment destroyed includes: 308 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 294 attack and transport helicopters,  3783 tanks, 3258 artillery pieces, 7398 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 564 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 18 boats and cutters, 6,115 vehicles and fuel tanks, 327 anti-aircraft batteries, 2,822 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 425 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 1,011 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.

MORE: Is Russia’s Su-57 Felon Stealth Fighter a Total Bust?

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A 19FortyFive Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business InsiderSandboxx, and SOFREP.

1945’s Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist with specialized expertise in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.



  1. 403Forbidden

    May 21, 2023 at 12:16 pm

    What putin, and other people need to be fully aware of now, is that joe biden (80-year-old man who won president’s job via a rigged contest) is dirdctly responsible for the deaths and destruction arising from ukraine proxy war as well as the reckless bombing of nord stream gas pipelines.

    As such, biden is in the same class as ww2 class-A war criminals.

    Thus Russia immediately needs to use tactical nukes to make biden the war criminal come a cropper.

  2. Walker

    May 21, 2023 at 6:03 pm


    You got a death wish or something? Why do you keep pushing nukes? You do realize you, your family, your friends, everyone you know will die if you get your wish, right? I could say that all of Moscow will be history, but there won’t be any historians to record it.

    You really need to step away from the keyboard. I don’t care how much they are paying you. Go take a break at the Russian imitation of McDonalds and remember, it can and actually will get worse for you.

  3. Rick

    May 21, 2023 at 10:53 pm


    Are you able to process simple information without guidance? You’ll be bitterly disappointed when Bakhmut is virtually surrounded. Think of how great it is for Putin to loose 10’s of thousands of mobiks fighting for an unimportant city. Ukraine kept you there bleeding troops waiting for the right time to circle the city forcing the orcs to die or surrender.

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