Russia moves "DPR" fighters to Bakhmut to replace the "Wagnerites" and strengthens the flanks - ISW
Wagner PMC mercenaries continue to retreat from Bakhmut to recover and regroup in the rear, as Russian offensives in and around the city diminish. At the same time, the Russian Federation is relocating "DPR" forces to the area and reinforcing its flanks with regular formations of its army.
Sending occupants from illegal armed groups to the fortress city in Donetsk oblast may reduce the pace of the enemy's offensive on the Avdeevka-Donetsk line. The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) described such efforts by the aggressor country.
The retreat of the "Wagnerians"
The Ukrainian military reported that Russian offensives have sharply decreased to two combat operations in the Bakhmut direction. Deputy Defense Minister Anna Malyar attributed this reduction to Russian strains on the ground and regrouping of enemy forces in the area.
According to the AFU General Staff, Russian forces conducted unsuccessful offensives to the west of Khromovoye (immediately west of Bakhmut) and in the direction of Predtechino (15 km southwest of it) on May 27.
Malyar stated that the Defense Forces were occupying dominant positions on the heights north and south of Bakhmut, and had ceased combat operations on May 26 and 27 to carry out other undetermined tasks. According to her, the Ukrainian army continues to control positions on the southwestern outskirts of the city.
Against this background, Russian propagandists claimed that the AFU was not actively engaged in resuming positions in Bakhmut itself, despite the possible continuation of localized Ukrainian counterattacks to the northwest and southwest of the city.
"DPR" fighters' redeployment
The Russian military command is likely to transfer "DPR" forces to replace the mercenaries of the Wagner PMC in Bakhmut. The British Ministry of Defense estimated that as of May 24, the militants had entered the city and began "cleansing" operations.
Earlier, analysts pointed out that units of the 132nd separate Guards Motorized Rifle Brigade of the 1st Army Corps of the "DNR" were operating in the Bakhmut direction after fighting in the area of Avdeevka.
"It is not yet clear whether units of the 132nd Brigade are operating inside the city, but "DPR" leader Denis Pushilin earlier raised its flag in Bakhmut, which probably indicates that "DPR" forces are assuming "control" over Bakhmut. He also noted that as of May 23, the militants were "mopping up the city," according to an ISW summary.
Russian Federation strengthens its flanks
At the same time, the military command of the occupants appears to be reinforcing the flanks of Bakhmut with regular RF Armed Forces formations. British intelligence estimated that units of the 31st Brigade of Russian airborne troops have likely moved from the Svatove-Kreminna line to reinforce the flanks in the stronghold city of Donetsk Region in recent weeks.
Earlier, the Ukrainian military noted that the invaders were transferring indefinite units of airborne troops, motorized riflemen and special forces to the Bakhmut direction after successful Ukrainian counterattacks on the flanks of Bakhmut.
"Also observed were so-called Cossack units operating in Soledar, although they had probably been operating in the area before," the ISW added.
As reported by OBOZREVATEL, Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council Olexiy Danilov said that some of the "Wagnerians" are indeed retreating from Bakhmut. However, the Russian PMC forces are not retreating completely, but only regrouping in other three places.