Video shows Russian soldiers fleeing Bakhmut outskirts, handing 3 square miles back to Ukrainian forces, Ukraine says
Ukraine claims to have retaken a portion of Bakhmut, sharing footage of fleeing Russian soldiers.
The video backs up a furious rant by a key Russian mercenary, who said that Russia had ceded ground.
Exact figures — of land gains and soldier deaths — remain unclear as Russia clings on to most of the city.
A Ukrainian battalion says it has chased Russian soldiers out of part of Bakhmut, sharing a video of fleeing troops along with claims that it retook around three square miles on Tuesday.
The graphic footage from the 3rd Separate Assault Brigade features various aerial scenes of troops running through fields and being chased down by armored vehicles, as well as on-the-ground footage of fighting and dead bodies.
The footage is intercut with clips from an earlier video by pro-Kremlin Wagner Group founder Yevegny Prigozhin, who said that a unit from Russia's traditional armed forces had abandoned its post in Bakhmut.
"Our army is fleeing," he said. "They are fleeing because the 72nd [Motorized Rifle] Brigade has thrown three square kilometers down the shitter, and we lost around 500 men there."
Ukrainian newspaper Ukrainska Pravda shared the video on Twitter:
—Українська правда ✌️ (@ukrpravda_news) May 9, 2023
The mercenary boss had also said the troops had "exposed a front almost two kilometres [1.2 miles] wide and 500 metres [0.3 miles] deep," per Ukrainska Pravda's translation.
Ukrainian forces seized on the tirade, writing in their post that Prigozhin's words were "true," while adding that they were "grateful" for the extra publicity he had provided.
The brigade said that the action took place over two days of fighting in the city's southwestern outskirts.
In a separate Telegram post, Azov Regiment founder Andrii Biletskyi said that an area around three square miles was "completely liberated from the Russian occupying forces," per Ukrainska Pravda's translation.
Biletskyi said that two companies within the Russian 72nd Brigade were "completely destroyed."
The Ukrainian brigade in question was formed out of Azov veterans.
The brigade also claimed to have destroyed anti-tank missiles, mortars and a BMP infantry fighting vehicle.
The claimed assault, which was also reported by Ukrainian state broadcaster Suspilne, has not been independently verified.
While Prigozhin said that it was a Russian Army unit that had failed to hold its ground, the Ukrainian brigade said that Wagner mercenaries were among the casualties.
As well as celebrating an apparent victory, the video capitalized on the latest flurry in the mercenary chief's own war of words with Russia's military leadership.
Prigozhin has complained of a lack of supplies and logistical support with increasing fury in recent months, and his private army remains the main force attempting to take the city.
In an expletive-ridden rant shared on Friday, Prigozhin said he would remove his troops altogether — a threat he later walked back after receiving a promise of more artillery shells from the Russian Ministry of Defense.
Despite the claimed Ukrainian gains, earlier reports suggest that Russian troops still hold a significant portion of the city.
Prior to the 3rd Assault Brigade's videos, Prigozhin claimed that his troops had gained 420 feet of the city on Monday, and that Ukraine controlled less than a square mile, according to US think tank the Institute for the Study of War.
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