In early June, Russian forces – largely supported by the Wagner Group mercenary unit – succeeded in capturing the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut in the Donbas region after ten months of hard fighting. It was a pyrrhic victory as the city was nearly completely razed to the ground, with almost no inhabitants remaining, and that victory may even be short-lived as Kyiv’s troops have been slowly retaking the captured ground.
On Monday, Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar claimed via the Telegram social messaging app that Ukrainian troops had succeeded in liberating three square kilometers last week, while in total some 43 square kilometers have been taken back from Russian control since June.
“The news is now appearing along both the southern and the northern flanks. If you look at the map, it looks a bit like a horseshoe around Bakhmut,” Maliar said on national television over the weekend. “[Ukrainian troops] are harassing the enemy there. Actually, the occupiers are trapped because they cannot get out of Bakhmut and cannot carry out full-fledged advances.”
Ukraine has continued to press its attack and the fighting remains intense with both sides seeing significant casualties. The fighting within Bakhmut had evoked comparisons to the Second World War’s Battle of Stalingrad, where the Soviet Red Army scored a significant victory – and in the process turned the tide of the war. Around the city, the battlefield now resembles the trench warfare of the Western Front in the First World War, while both sides continue to engage in the artillery duels that were commonplace in that conflict.
Russian Counter Attack Stopped Cold in Ukraine
Maliar added that Russia has been trying to build on its past gains but without much success. In fact, a video has been shared across social media that show Ukrainian forces stopping a column of Russian tanks in a failed counter-attack south of the now-destroyed city.
The footage, which was recorded by a Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicle (drone), showed at least six armored vehicles including tanks, moving in a line before coming under fire from Ukrainian artillery. Multiple vehicles were hit and several could be seen burning at the end of the clip.
“A Russian counterattack near Bakhmut ends up with annihilation of [Russian] tanks & infantry fighting vehicles en masse. Seems like Russians still believe the Holy Grail must be somewhere in Bakhmut. There’s no other way to justify these suicidal attacks,” Breaking News: Ukraine posted on Twitter (you can click here to watch as some would consider graphic).
According to the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces, the Kremlin has lost 4,358 tanks since February 24, 2022, when it launched its invasion. The General Staff added that Russia had lost a dozen tanks in just the past 24 hours – and that may have included the vehicles seen in the column near Bakhmut.
If not, then the tally of Russian losses could be even greater.
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A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.
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