Institute for Study of War predicts consequences of Russian troops regrouping in Bakhmut

Analysts of the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) have suggested that the mercenaries of the Wagner Private Military Group (PMC) exit from the city of Bakhmut, and the redeployment of the forces the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic to the city could reduce Russian offensive actions on the Avdiivka-Donetsk line.

Source: ISW

Details: Analysts indicate that Wagner's mercenaries appear to be withdrawing from Bakhmut to rebuild and regroup in the rear as Russian offensive operations in and around the city have diminished.

Ukrainian military officials reported that Russian offensive operations had dramatically decreased to two skirmishes on the Bakhmut front, and Ukrainian Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Maliar attributed this decrease to the Russian forces' regrouping in the area.

The report indicates that the statements of the Ukrainian side and the founder of Wagner PMC coincide with the withdrawal of mercenaries from Bakhmut.

Experts note that the Russian military command may be transferring forces of the so-called Donetsk People's Republic to push back the forces of the Wagner group in Bakhmut.

The redeployment of the self-styled Donetsk People's Republic units to Bakhmut may reduce the pace of Russian offensive operations on the Avdiivka-Donetsk frontline.

According to preliminary ISW estimates, the Russian military command transferred significant "Donetsk People's Republic" forces to the Avdiivka-Donetsk frontline.

Military analysts report that in recent days, the intensity of Russian attacks on the Avdiivka-Donetsk section has decreased, which may be due to the redeployment of "Donetsk People's Republic" forces to Bakhmut.

The institute adds that Russian offensive operations around Avdiivka have been steadily declining since 8 April after the Russian military command tried to intensify their offensive operations near this settlement in March, and the transfer of "Donetsk People's Republic" units to Bakhmut could further slow down Russian efforts on the Avdiivka-Donetsk frontline.

Experts add that the Russian military command might transfer Donetsk People's Republic units operating in the well-protected Avdiivka-Donetsk front, so as not to make other directions vulnerable or provide quick reinforcements around the city of Bakhmut.

In addition, the review says, the Russian military command seems to strengthen their flanks in Bakhmut with regular army formations.

Key ISW findings for 27 May:

  • Wagner Group mercenaries appear to be withdrawing from Bakhmut city to reconstitute and regroup in the rear as Russian offensive operations decrease in and around the city.

  • The Russian military command may be transferring Donetsk People’s Republic’s (DNR) forces to relieve Wagner Group forces in Bakhmut city.

  • The Russian transfer of DNR elements to Bakhmut may decrease the tempo of Russian offensive operations on the Avdiivka-Donetsk line.

  • The Russian military command appears to be reinforcing Bakhmut’s flanks with regular formations, however.

  • Former Russian officer and ardent nationalist Igor Girkin accused Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin of planning a coup against the current Russian leadership.

  • Ukrainian officials denied Western reporting that suggested that a Chinese diplomat expressed interest in a negotiated ceasefire in Ukraine amidst the likely renewal of Russia’s information campaign surrounding negotiations.

  • Russian forces continued limited offensive operations northeast of Kupiansk and south of Kreminna.

  • Russian forces continued to launch unsuccessful offensive operations on the Avdiivka-Donetsk City line.

  • Ukrainian forces continued to strike rear logistics nodes in southern Zaporizhia oblast.

  • The Ukrainian Main Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) warned on 26 May that Russian forces are preparing to conduct large-scale provocations to create radiological danger at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP).

  • The Russian Ministry of Justice registered the civil society group "Council of Mothers of Wives" as a foreign agent on 26 May, likely to curb resistance to ongoing and future Russian force generation efforts.

  • Russian authorities are escalating efforts to portray Russia as a safe guardian of Ukrainian children.

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