Serhiy Cherevaty: Our units are located in the south-western part of the city. Over the past few days, the intensity of enemy attacks has decreased. There have been three clashes. During the day the enemy carried out 388 shellings and six air strikes in this direction. In the fighting, we destroyed 66 occupiers, 99 were wounded and two were taken prisoner. The advance of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on the flanks of Bakhmut continues. In one day we advanced a distance of 200-250 m.
An attack on Bakhmut’s flanks is an attempt to encircle the enemy?
We try to attack the flanks to surround the enemy and destroy him. We have to inflict huge losses on the enemy and deprive him of his combat capabilities.
If the enemy is surrounded by the Armed Forces of Ukraine, will he be destroyed or taken prisoner?
How will it go? Different variants are possible. If they run away, fine. If we surround them and destroy them, that’s good too. Russians love PR. And we Ukrainians are pragmatic people: our task is to destroy the enemy and destroy his combat potential. We will not let the enemy complete the combat mission, we work by Western standards.
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Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of the Wagner Group, said that they had completely taken over Bakhmut. Is it true?
Ukrainian troops control a small part of the city. We control some of the buildings, but we have built fortifications there: trenches, dugouts that we maintain. It cannot be said that the Armed Forces of Ukraine have left Bakhmut. There is fighting in the city itself, and the territories under our and the enemy’s control remain stable. The enemy destroyed a large part of the city’s infrastructure. Today, the city is really important only for Russian propaganda. From a strategic point of view, there is nothing there. The Armed Forces of Ukraine achieved everything they wanted in Bakhmut.
You said that the Armed Forces of Ukraine achieved their goals in Bakhmut. What does it mean?
We conducted a successful defensive operation there for 9.5 months. We had to prevent the enemy from achieving a strategic result: breaking through our positions and moving to the rear, which they were trying to do. We didn’t allow it. But in the battles in the direction of Bakhmut, we exhausted the enemy. We destroyed a huge number of Russian soldiers and equipment. Their combat abilities have greatly diminished. We have broken the enemy’s morale and fighting spirit. In fact, we are on the verge of completely destroying the criminal Wagner Group. And most importantly: we have prevented further systematic offensive actions of the enemy in this direction.
What are the losses of the Russians in the Bachmuth direction? Prigozhin says 20,000, Girkin 40,000.
The Girkin number is closer to the truth. The enemy fell into a trap there. And he just lost incredible resources there, but gained nothing strategically.-
What is the task of the Armed Forces of Ukraine now?
The heroes of Bakhmut sacrificed their lives to make Ukraine go on the offensive, and the prepared reserves – when they begin to liberate our lands – to deal with a bloodless and demoralized enemy. After all, the offensive is the most difficult type of battle and it is during it that there are the most casualties. But the more enemies you destroy before the offensive, the easier it will be for the troops to advance and the less losses they will suffer.
So the hard fights for Bakhmut are preparations for a counter-offensive?
One of the elements of preparations for the offensive aimed at liberating our lands.
Does Bakhmut have any strategic importance for the enemy now?
NO. Bakhmut would be of operational and tactical importance to them if the Russians had the strength and means to advance further. And the enemy has no such means. For the Russians, Bakhmut is not a victory, it is a fiasco. And it’s all a hidden surrender, because now Prigozhin really wants to get out of there. He understands that his troops have been defeated. The enemy did not find much opportunity to replenish personnel and continued to suffer heavy casualties. On average, it is 100 killed and as many wounded a day. There aren’t even enough prisoners to move them there. But we do not know whether the leadership will allow Prigozhin to leave Bakhmut.
Well, they can probably still pick up prisoners from prisons…
Russia is a country with a large prison culture. This is their #1 culture. And word of mouth works great for them. And the prisoners have long known that the road to Ukraine is a one-way road. The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation is currently trying to create companies “Storm-Z”. Prisoners and parolees are also recruited to this structure. They also try to take people who have broken the law and can go to jail. And then they are given a choice: prison or war. In Russia, there is no longer such a source of replenishing prisoners as it was before.
Does that mean that the enemy has suffered such casualties that he will not be able to advance further than Bakhmut?
The Russians want to escape from there. Whether they succeed is another matter. After all, there is no one who can replace the Wagner Group in Bakhmut. In total, we’ve eliminated 204,000 since the full-scale invasion. 760 people. And the Russian invasion group numbered 170,000. You don’t have to be a super analyst to understand that all the professional, contract, best trained soldiers have already been killed. Now the Wagner Group has been eliminated. The heroes of Bakhmut exhausted the enemy as their colleagues prepared for a counteroffensive in Ukraine and elsewhere. So that when the Ukrainian attack begins, the enemy is weaker and cannot inflict such losses on us.
Tags: optimism Ukrainian colonel close destroying Wagner Group-