Private mercenary group Wagner appears to be taking a “tactical pause” in Bakhmut, the US think tank the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said in its daily update on Friday.
According to the ISW, Wagner is waiting until enough reinforcements of conventional Russian troops have arrived before taking a backseat in the fierce battle – the most violent fight of the war.
Meanwhile, Russian forces may be preparing to resume offensive operations around Vuhledar, although persistent personnel and ammunition issues will likely continue to constrain Russian forces from advancing, the think tank says.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reportedly ordered the Eastern Military District commander to take Vuhledar at any cost to settle widespread criticism within the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) about the lack of progress and significant losses in the Vuhledar area.
ISW assesses that Russian forces would need to advance upwards of 24 km from the current frontlines around Vuhledar for this offensive to support operations elsewhere in the Donetsk region.
And that is a rate of advance that Russian forces have not achieved since the first months of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
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