Ukrainian soldier claims Russians near Bakhmut being forced to attack by officers

21 May, 03:13 PM
The cap of the Russian occupier near Bakhmut, May 11, 2023 (Photo:Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty/Serhii Nuzhnenko via REUTERS)

The cap of the Russian occupier near Bakhmut, May 11, 2023 (Photo:Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty/Serhii Nuzhnenko via REUTERS)

Russian soldiers are reluctant to attack near Bakhmut, so they are forced into battle by officers, Yuriy Syrotyuk, a grenade launcher with the 5th Assault Regiment, said in an interview with Radio NV on May 19.

"We see the appearance of officers on the front line, officers are leading the fight," Syrotyuk, who is on the southern outskirts of Bakhmut, told Radio NV.

"What does this mean? We have recently seen a situation where a captainof Russian troops personally led the attack. This shows that the soldiers do not want to go on the attack, that they do not believe in the success of the cause, they (have to be) led by an officer.

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"The Ukrainian soldier noted that when documents and phones of the dead Russian officers get to the Ukrainian Armed Forces, it further complicates the situation for the enemy, as these yield valuable intelligence about the Russians’ plans.

Syrotyuk said there was no sign at the moment of the Russians retreating from the fighting.

"There is no (mass) desertion, no collapse of the front," Syrotyuk said.

"But the enemy does not have a high morale either. If a little more new equipment arrives from our side, I think the enemy will be very (upset). They are very afraid of a Ukrainian counter-offensive. It hasn't happened yet, but they have frightened themselves so much that they already see any of our movements forward as a major Ukrainian offensive. They measure everything with 'pockets' (encirclements – ed). For some reason, they are now all living in a panic that they will end up in a pocket."

On May 19, the spokesman for the Eastern Group of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Serhiy Cherevatyi, confirmed that Ukrainian forces were seizing the initiative in the Bakhmut area and attempting to counter-attack.

Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar reported earlier that the Ukrainian military had managed to liberate approximately 20 square kilometers in the north and south of the Bakhmut suburbs.

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