Ukraine Situation Report: Kyiv’s Noose Around Bakhmut Tightens

On the 517th day of Russia’s all-out war on Ukraine, the area surrounding the destroyed city of Bakhmut remains one of the most hotly contested places on the battlefield.

Ukrainian and Russian sources alike are reporting continued Ukrainian gains around that embattled coal-mining city in Donetsk Oblast, especially toward the south.

“Russian forces have retreated from their positions in Andriivka to the south of Bakhmut following a Ukrainian offensive operation,” General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces spokesperson Andrii Kovalov said during a briefing Tuesday, according to the Kyiv Independent. “Ukraine is conducting offensive operations both north and south of the city of Bakhmut, in Donetsk Oblast.”

Andriivka is about 4.5 miles south of the outskirts of Bakhmut.

The Russian Grey Zone Telegram channel, meanwhile, acknowledged that Ukrainian forces have captured the high ground surrounding Klischiivka, a little less than two miles south of Andriivka.

Fighting in towns surrounding Bakhmut remains fierce. (Google Earth image)

Russian artillery is firing on that tiny hamlet, “which itself is currently gradually moving into a gray zone,” Grey Zone reported. “The location of the heights near the settlement allows the enemy to have an advantage in conducting surveillance, as well as work on adjusting artillery fire directly on Klischiivka and reserves in the rear, who are trying to come to the aid of our soldiers holding the settlement and its surroundings.”

Bakhmut fell into Russian hands on May 21 after a long battle with heavy casualties on both sides. Continued fighting around that city comes as Ukraine is pushing its counteroffensive slowly through Zaporizhzhia Oblast and elsewhere in the Donbas, while Russian forces appear to be pushing toward the Oskil River, near Kupiansk, as we reported yesterday.

“The Ukrainians have been making slow and steady progress along the east and in the south,” Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh told The War Zone Tuesday when asked about how the U.S. military assesses a Russian advance near Kupiansk. “But in terms of their operations and where Russians are positioning their forces, I will let the Ukrainians speak to how they plan to respond.”

The Ukrainians say that so far, they’ve been able to hold off the Russian advance while making incremental gains in the counteroffensive.

We will continue to follow this closely and provide updates as warranted.

Before we head into the latest news from Ukraine, The War Zone readers can catch up on our previous rolling coverage here.

The Latest

The Pentagon on Tuesday announced the 43rd Presidential Drawdown Authority military aid package for Ukraine. Valued at up to $400 million, it includes 32 more Stryker Armored Personnel Carriers – bringing the total promised to Ukraine to 189 – as well as additional munitions for air defense systems, artillery and the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS.

In addition, the capabilities in this package include:

  • Additional munitions for Patriot air defense systems and National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS);
  • Stinger anti-aircraft systems;
  • 155mm and 105mm artillery rounds;
  • 120mm and 60mm mortar rounds;
  • Tube-Launched, Optically-Tracked, Wire-Guided (TOW) missiles;
  • Javelin and other anti-armor systems and rockets;
  • Hornet Unmanned Aerial Systems;
  • Hydra-70 aircraft rockets;
  • Tactical air navigation systems;
  • Demolitions munitions for obstacle clearing;
  • Over 28 million rounds of small arms ammunition and grenades;
  • Night vision devices and thermal imagery systems; and
  • Spare parts, training munitions, and other field equipment.

Aerial and surface drones have played a huge role in this war and more images and video are emerging of uncrewed ground vehicles (UGV) on the battlefield as well. Below you can see a Ukrainian UGV which remotely distributes powerful MON-200 directional fragmentation anti-personnel landmines.

But artillery remains a mainstay for both sides.

Like these Ukrainian 2S7 Pion self-propelled 203mm cannon, which both sides possess and use against each other.

And you can watch this Ukrainian M-777 155mm howitzer crew pump rounds toward Russians in rapid fashion.

More visual evidence is emerging that the Bradley Fighting Vehicles donated to Ukraine are living up to their promise as tank-busting troop transports providing a great deal of survivability. The video below shows one battle-damaged Brad that saved its crew.

Given the importance of air defense systems, Ukraine and Russia alike have them on top of their target lists. In the video below, you can see a Russian 9K35 Strela-10 air defense system, mounted on an MT-LB tracked carrier, struck by Ukrainian forces.

And finally, we’ve seen a lot of innovation from the Ukrainians on the battlefield. But now it appears they are bringing those skills indoors. A restaurant has apparently turned a cluster munition dispenser into a coat rack.

That’s it for now. We’ll update this story when there’s more news to report about Ukraine.

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Howard Altman Avatar

Howard Altman

Senior Staff Writer

Howard is a Senior Staff Writer for The War Zone, and a former Senior Managing Editor for Military Times. Prior to this, he covered military affairs for the Tampa Bay Times as a Senior Writer. Howard’s work has appeared in various publications including Yahoo News, RealClearDefense, and Air Force Times.