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Russian units appear to be advancing near Bakhmut in Donetsk, but suffer heavy casualties


Damage and debris are seen in Bakhmut, Ukraine on November 29. (Yevhan Titov/AFP/Getty Images)

Videos on social media indicate that Russian troops in areas around Bakhmut in the eastern Donetsk region are suffering heavy casualties, even as they take territory, particularly south of the city.

Some Ukrainian military drone videos show Russian troops in trenches and trenches being targeted by explosive charges dropped by the drones. Other ground-level videos show the bodies of Russian soldiers littering the countryside.

A video shot by the Ukrainian military and posted on Telegram shows different weapon systems used in a coordinated attack on Russian positions, including howitzers and 155mm mortars. It emerges from certain videos that the Russian positions are poorly protected and exposed in open country.

Russian forces have been attacking the area around Bakhmut for months – and more recently have sent newly mobilized but less experienced units forward.

Some Russian units – including those affiliated with the Wagner group – appear to have made gradual progress, taking a series of small villages south of the town. On Thursday, the Russian Defense Ministry said that “as a result of the offensive actions of Russian troops, the Kurdiumivka settlement of the Donetsk People’s Republic has been completely liberated from units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.”

The Ministry of Defense had previously announced the capture of three other settlements, but all of them are small villages.

The Ukrainian army fires rockets at Russian positions near Bakhmut, Ukraine on November 24.
The Ukrainian army fires rockets at Russian positions near Bakhmut, Ukraine on November 24. (LIBKOS/AP)

What Ukraine says: Ukrainians say fighting continues in the area and during combat missions near Kurdiumivka Ukrainian forces destroyed three ammunition depots, a mortar crew “and enemy manpower”.

Analysts say the Ukrainians are also clearly taking casualties as they are targeted by Russian artillery and tanks. The Ukrainian military said fighting continued in many areas near Bakhmut but did not acknowledge losing ground.

The National Guard of Ukraine said that over the past week units had repelled enemy attacks in the Bakhmut and Avdiivka sectors of the Donetsk region and “destroyed ammunition depots, equipment and personnel of the ‘enemy”.

His spokesman said that in strikes near the northeastern outskirts of Bakhmut, “enemy casualties amounted to 79 servicemen, 46 of whom were irrecoverable.

A CNN crew in nearby Kramatorsk reported hearing heavy artillery exchanges for much of Thursday.

In its latest analysis, the Institute for the Study of War claims that the Russian campaign around Bakhmut indicates “that Russian forces have fundamentally not learned from previous high-loss campaigns focused on objectives of operational importance or limited strategy”.

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