Wagner Has 2 Months of Troops Left for Bakhmut 'Meat Grinder': Ukraine
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Wagner Has 2 Months of Troops Left for Bakhmut 'Meat Grinder': Ukraine

Oct 12, 2023

The commander of Ukraine's eastern forces said that time is running out on the Wagner Group's ability to keep up its "human wave" assaults on Bakhmut.

Col. Serhiy Cherevaty told Ukrainian TV on Tuesday that "with the current intensity of them being annihilated, unless they change their tactics, I think we're talking two months," according to a translation by The New Voice of Ukraine.

The outlet noted that this was Cherevaty's personal opinion.

"Being a terrorist organization, they [Wagner] use coercion methods," Cherevaty added, saying that its troops fight "under threat of execution."

The intense, months-long battle in Bakhmut, which has been fought on the Russian side primarily by the private military group, has been described as a "meat grinder."

In March, the Institute for the Study of War think tank said that Wagner had been forced to start drawing from its elite fighters due to what it described as "massive losses" among the ill-equipped, poorly trained convicts the group initially threw into the battle.

An unnamed NATO official told CNN in March that Russians were dying at five times the rate of the defending Ukrainian forces in the city.

But Russia has, in recent weeks, been able to make "very, very slow progress," in Bakhmut, Western officials said at a briefing last Wednesday, per CNN.

On Friday, UK military intelligence said it is "highly likely" that Russian forces had advanced to the city center.

Even so, there are conflicting claims as to the extent of Russian control of the city.

Wagner's founder Yevgeny Prigozhin said on Tuesday that his troops held more than 80% of the city, including factories and its administrative center, according to Ukraine's Channel 24.

Prigozhin also said on April 3 that his troops had "legally" captured the city, as they had managed to hoist a flag from an administrative building, NBC News reported.

Cherevaty pushed back on Prigozhin's claim. "I can confidently state that the Ukrainian defense forces control a much larger percentage of the territory of Bakhmut," the Ukrainian commander told CNN, without specifying a figure.

The Institute for the Study of War estimated that, as of Tuesday, Russian forces controlled 76.5% of the territory.

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