Several pro-Russian bloggers who follow the situation on the Moscow and kyiv battlefronts were alarmed on Thursday by the Ukrainian troop movements and the abandonment of positions by Russian soldiers, particularly near Bakhmutthe epicenter of the fighting in eastern Ukraine.
As reported by the independent Russian news portal jellyfish, On the night of this Thursday, May 11, different Telegram channels that support the invasion began to report that the long-awaited Ukrainian counteroffensive had begun.
War blogger Evgeny Poddubny commented that Ukrainian troops “began their operation to encircle” Russian forces in Bakhmut and managed to break through the front lines in the Soledar region. And blogger Alexander Kots added that Ukrainian tanks were also seen on the road passing through Kharkivadvancing towards the Russian border.
Igor Strelkov, former head of the Defense Ministry of the pro-Russian Donetsk People’s Republic, noted that “so far there is talk of local (albeit successful) counterattacks.”
At the same time, the head of the Russian paramilitary group Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhinwhose men are on the front line of the battle for Bakhmut, has been reporting for three days that Russian soldiers they have been retreating around the flanks of the city before the Ukrainian assaultsconfirmed by a senior kyiv official.
On Thursday, Prigozhin said that the Ukrainian army had sent units trained and equipped with western weapons that kyiv keeps in reserve for its big counteroffensive. “The territories that were taken with the blood and lives of our comrades in arms for many months (…) are today, practically without a fight, abandoned by those who should be supporting our flanks,” he said in an audio message, in a hint to the Russian regular army.
Moscow denies it
For its part, the Russian Army denied this Thursday in a statement that the Ukrainian forces had “broken” its defenses, despite the claims of pro-Russian bloggers and the Wagner group.
“Statements broadcast by individual Telegram channels about the ‘breakdown of defenses’ allegedly in various parts of the contact line do not correspond to reality”, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.
In its balance of the day, the ministry noted that some Ukrainian attacks and reconnaissance operations on the front line had been repelled. “The general situation in the area of the special military operation is under control,” the ministry said.
kyiv has not commented on possible Ukrainian troop movements.
And the President of Ukraine, Volodimir Zelenskydeclared Wednesday to the network BBC that the Ukrainian Armed Forces needed “a little more time” to prepare a counteroffensive that would minimize “unacceptably large” losses.
Following these statements in the BBCPrigozhin accused the Ukrainian president of being “dishonest” because the Ukrainian counter-offensive “is in full swing.” “In the direction (of Bakhmut), units of the Ukrainian armed forces penetrate the flanks and, unfortunately, in some places they succeed,” the head of the Wagner group said. “The plan of the Ukrainian army is under way,” he assured.
A senior Ukrainian military official said on Wednesday that Kiev forces had carried out counterattacks in Bakhmut and forced Russian troops to withdraw in some areas.
In the town of Bakhmut, more than 90% controlled by Russian forcesthe longest and bloodiest battle since the start of the war in February 2022 is taking place.
The timetable for kyiv to launch a recapture operation in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, as well as Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, remains unknown.
(With information from AFP)
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