Russia’s airborne troops sent to Bakhmut to reinforce regular army, not Wagner

11 April, 12:45 PM
A Ukrainian soldier in a combat position in the Bakhmut area (Photo:REUTERS/Oleksandr Klymenko)

A Ukrainian soldier in a combat position in the Bakhmut area (Photo:REUTERS/Oleksandr Klymenko)

Russian airborne forces have likely been sent to Bakhmut in Donetsk Oblast to reinforce the regular army, rather than Wagner mercenary force, U.S. think tank the Institute for the Study of War or ISW said in its Ukraine report for April 10.

ISW said Russian forces continued to make territorial gains in and around Bakhmut on April 9 and 10, but likely continue to suffer significant casualties.

Geolocated footage posted on April 9 and 10 shows that Russian forces made marginal advances northwest of Khromove (2 kilometers west of Bakhmut), in southwest Bakhmut, and north of Sacco and Vanzetti (15 kilometers north of Bakhmut.)

Video of day

Meanwhile, Ukrainian Spokesperson for the Eastern Group of Forces Colonel Serhiy Cherevatyi said on April 9 that Russian airborne forces began to appear in Bakhmut. They are likely to reinforce conventional, rather than Wagner Group, forces, ISW believes.

At the same time, the Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces repelled Russian ground attacks in Bakhmut and near Bohdanivka (6 kilometers northwest of Bakhmut) and Khromove.

Ukrainian Ground Forces Commander Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi also said on April 10 that Ukrainian forces have exhausted Wagner forces so much that the Russian military command has had to send Spetsnaz (special forces) and airborne units to Bakhmut.

Other conclusions by ISW analysts over the past day:

·         Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin is reportedly advancing his political aspirations by seeking to gain control of a Russian political party;

·         Russian dictator Vladimir Putin may be unable to satisfy the role of a patron to loyalist figures to the same extent as he had been able to before the full-scale invasion of Ukraine;

·         The Russian Foreign Ministry directly responded to Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin’s criticisms of its agenda at the United Nations Security Council, marking the first time that a Russian government institution has formally responded to Prigozhin’s criticism;

·         The Russian Foreign Ministry attack on Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin is a continuation of the Kremlin’s efforts to discredit and undermine Prigozhin;

·         Russian milbloggers adamantly decried the charging of Russian military doctor and “Union of Donbas Volunteers” member Yuri Yevich for “discrediting the Russian armed forces,” suggesting that the broad applications of this new law will likely be a growing source of discontent in the pro-war information space;

·         The Russian State Duma will consider on April 13 an amendment to the Russian Criminal Code increasing criminal penalties for high treason and terrorist activities;

·         Russian Minister of Defense Sergey Shoigu met with Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko in Minsk, Belarus, on April 10;

·         Russian forces conducted limited ground attacks along the Svatove-Kreminna line;

·         Russian forces continued to make territorial gains in and around Bakhmut, and continued ground attacks on the Avdiyivka-Donetsk city line;

·         Russian forces continued defensive preparations in Kherson and Zaporizhzhya oblasts;

·         Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin criticized Russian Ministry of Defense prisoner recruitment efforts, likely in an effort to advertise ongoing Wagner volunteer recruitment campaigns;

·         Wagner forces are reportedly continuing to commit war crimes by beheading Ukrainian servicemen in Bakhmut;

·         Russian officials and occupation authorities continue to deport children to Russia under the guise of medical, rehabilitation, and voluntary evacuation schemes.

Maps of combat operations: battles in Donbas, Zaporizhzhya, Kharkiv, Kherson oblasts

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