The commanding general of the Ukrainian ground forces declared that his troops had decisively defeated three elite Russian brigades engaged in combat along the front lines in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region.
General Oleksandr Syrskyi, speaking on Monday, also emphasized the significance of recent advances in the recapture of two eastern Ukrainian villages, Klishchiivka and Andriivka, both situated on elevated terrain near the ravaged town of Bakhmut.
“In the confrontations within the Bakhmut sector, some of the adversary’s most formidable units have been effectively neutralized, rendering them devoid of their fighting capabilities,” Syrskyi stated in an official announcement.
The Russian military units included the 72nd Motor Rifle Brigade and the 31st and 83rd Air Assault Brigades.
Celebrating the successful reclamation of Klishchiivka and Andriivka, General Syrskyi underscored that Ukrainian forces continued their forward momentum and had achieved some breakthroughs in piercing Russian defensive lines. Nevertheless, Moscow’s forces were mounting counterattacks to reclaim lost territory from various directions.
“These settlements, seemingly modest at first glance, constituted crucial components of the adversary’s defensive perimeter extending from Bakhmut to Horlivka,” Syrskyi conveyed through the Telegram messaging app, referring to a town located approximately 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Bakhmut. “As a result of the effective actions by our troops, the adversary’s defensive front – which they endeavored to fortify by committing all available reserves – has been breached,” he affirmed.
Ilia Yevlash, the spokesperson for the Ukrainian military, emphasized the strategic significance of Klishchiivka during televised remarks. He stated that its successful recapture had exposed the southern flank of Bakhmut, serving as a promising launching point for further advancements.
Russian forces seized control of Bakhmut in May, but Ukrainian troops persisted in intense urban warfare, marking one of the bloodiest and lengthiest battles since Russia’s invasion last year.
On Saturday, Russia refuted claims of losing control over Andriivka, and the recent assertions of Ukrainian battlefield gains against Russian forces could not be independently confirmed.
The Washington, DC-based think tank, The Institute for the Study of War (ISW), reported on Monday that Ukraine’s advances to the south of Bakhmut and claims of incapacitating the three Russian brigades might indicate significant setbacks for Moscow.
“The VDV elements [Russian airborne troops] were engaged in counterattacks and efforts to reverse Ukrainian progress around Bakhmut… and likely suffered substantial casualties,” per the ISW’s assessment.
The ISW also indicated that Russian forces south of Bakhmut were probably fatigued from recent endeavors to maintain control over Klishchiivka and Andriivka.
Since commencing its long-anticipated counteroffensive in June, Ukraine has managed to reclaim approximately 50 square kilometers (equivalent to over 19 square miles) of territory around Bakhmut. The sluggish progress of this campaign has faced criticism from some of Kyiv’s Western supporters.
While Ukrainian officials have acknowledged the slow pace of their advance, they have attributed it to the formidable Russian defenses, which include extensive trenches and vast minefields. Moscow had months to fortify these positions while Kyiv awaited the delivery of promised tanks from Western allies.
Hanna Maliar, Ukraine’s Deputy Defence Minister, who was one of six deputy defence ministers recently removed in a reshuffle under the new defense minister, previously stated that Ukrainian forces had successfully recaptured 51 square kilometers (19 square miles) near Bakhmut and over 260 square kilometers (100 square miles) of territory in the southern region of the country during the counteroffensive.