The Ukrainian Armed Forces received the initiative near Bakhmut in the Donetsk region. Now they can start a new phase of operations around the city.

This is stated in a recent report by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

"The continuation of successful limited Ukrainian counterattacks on the flanks of Bakhmut could complicate the Russian assistance operation on the ground in Bakhmut," the report said.

Meanwhile, Russian "warships" claim that Ukrainian forces conducted successful counterattacks near Orikhovo-Vasylivka (11km north-west of Bakhmut) and Klishchiivka (7km south-west of Bakhmut). It is noted that the counterattacks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine near Orikhovo-Vasylivka led to the fact that the units of the "Wagnerites" retreated up to a kilometer from their positions in the area.

In addition, military bloggers claimed that Ukrainians captured hills along the E40 highway (Bakhmut – Sloviansk) near Orikhovo-Vasylivka. Fighting continues in the area. One blogger also claimed that the Ukrainian Armed Forces had advanced to Klishchiivka and crossed the Siverskyi Donets Canal. Perhaps threatening to surround the settlement and force the invaders to retreat to the east.

Geolocation footage from May 24-25 shows that Russian troops likely regained limited positions west of Klishchiivka. The ISW has previously assessed that Russian forces may find it difficult to replace Wagner forces in Bakhmut, and successful limited and localized Ukrainian counterattacks are likely to complicate their ability to do so.

Analysts note that the slowdown in the pace of Russian offensives in the Bakhmut area and reports of an assistance operation on the ground are likely to give Ukrainian forces in the area the initiative to launch a new phase of operations around the city, if they so choose.

The situation in Bakhmut. ISW battle map.

We will remind, the leader of the "Wagnerites" Yevgeny Prigozhin said that his PMC began to withdraw from Bakhmut. They say that "Wagner" transfers its positions to the regular army of the Russian Federation. The militants allegedly intend to completely withdraw from the city from the Ukrainian city by June.

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