Dr. Sayed Ghoneim, Fellow of Nasser’s Higher Military Academy, IGSDA Chairman
Wagner’s forces fight in the heart of Bakhmut and some surrounding areas.
– The Russian airborne forces and infantry elements fight at the flanks, with the task of encircling the Ukrainian forces and limiting them to fighting in the heart.
According to the open sources, the Ukrainian forces were able to launch limited local counterattacks in the vicinity of Bakhmut, which caused some penetrations in the Russian forces’ positions, including the deepest ones in Bogdanovka, which led to:
– Wagner’s forces attempt to repel these counterattacks.
– The Russian forces largely abandoned the goal of encircling a large number of Ukrainian forces in Bakhmut, meaning that some of the Russian forces tasked with securing the flanks and besieging the Ukrainian forces withdrew from their positions.
– This may indicate the extent of the weakness of the Russian forces in Bakhmut and in return show Wagner’s capabilities are much better compared to them.
– The continuation of the successful Ukrainian small counterattacks in Bakhmut (even if it was limited) will increase two issues: 1) the importance of Russian relying on Wagner in Bakhmut. 2) The growing dispute between the Russian military leadership and Prigozhin, commander of Wagner, as Prigozhin’s rhetoric against Shoigu and Gerasimov will intensify, which may soon affect Putin himself or at least his advisors in the Kremlin.
This could lead to one of two things, either the exclusion of Gerasimov or Shoigu, or both, or removing from the theater of war, and assigning another military commander capable of containing Prigozhin; or, the Russian will maintain full patience with Prigozhin until an end to the potential operationa counteroffensive by the Ukrainian forces.