Ukraine releases special forces helmet cam footage of Bakhmut battle

Ukraine releases special forces helmet cam footage of Bakhmut battle – Euronews

Ukraine has reportedly released helmet camera footage of special forces evacuating a Russian position in Bakhmut. Kiev says it stopped and pushed back the enemy, and President Zelenskyy told his people that the Russians were mentally prepared for defeat.

Ukrainian military commanders said on Friday that their forces at the scene of the war’s longest and bloodiest battle for the eastern city of Bakhmut had recaptured more territory from Russian forces. However, it was not clear if this marked the beginning of the long-awaited Battle of Kiev counter-offensive.

In another incident, two long-range Ukrainian missiles struck administrative buildings at two defunct companies in Russian-held Luhansk to the east, as the Russians called it.

The Russian Defense Ministry, meanwhile, said Ukrainian forces had stepped up attacks north of the Bakhmut region and denied speculation by Russian military bloggers that Kiev forces had made “defense breakthroughs”.

The two kilometers of territory recaptured south of Bakhmut by Ukrainian forces this week represents a significant gain and will protect a vital supply chain, according to commanders of Ukraine’s 3rd Separate Assault Brigade, a special forces unit that led the attack, and announced what they said helmet camera footage of one of his soldiers.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi said he met with top military commanders on Friday and noted that General Oleksandr Syrskyi reported his forces had “stopped the enemy and even pushed them back in some directions”.

In his evening address to the Ukrainian people, Zelenskyy praised his troops and pointed to the low morale of the Russian armed forces.

“The occupiers are already mentally prepared for defeat. They have already lost this war in their minds,” he said. “We have to push them every day so that their sense of defeat turns into their retreat, their mistakes, their losses.”

In a statement to Telegram on Friday, Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar confirmed that Ukrainian forces were gaining ground around Bakhmut, echoing statements from military commanders earlier this week.

In Washington, John Kirby, spokesman for the White House National Security Council, said the US had come to the assessment that Bakhmut remained contested territory.

“The Ukrainians haven’t given up defending Bakhmut, and the Russians haven’t given up trying to take Bakhmut,” Kirby said. “The lines change back and forth every day. I mean block by block sometimes.”

The US claims that Bakhmut has limited strategic value, but that Russia has suffered enormous losses in troops and weapons in the eight-month struggle over the former salt-mining town.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the multi-million dollar owner of the Russian private military company Wagner, who is a frequent critic of the Russian military, once again criticized it for losing ground around Bakhmut and exposing its troops fighting for the city.

In a video statement on Friday, Prigozhin mocked the Russian Defense Ministry report, claiming his troops had regrouped to take up more favorable positions and said they had practically fled and “our flanks were crumbling”.

He warned that Ukrainian forces had recaptured key heights around the city and effectively unblocked the vital supply link to Bakhmut. Prigozhin again accused the military leadership of not providing Wagner with sufficient ammunition.

“You must stop lying immediately,” Prigozhin told Russia’s military leadership. “If you have fled, you must prepare new lines of defence.”

Prigozhin — who appears to be harshly urging the Kremlin to provide more support and improve its position — claimed that the Defense Ministry’s failure to protect Wagner’s flanks amounted to treason and could lead to a “great tragedy” for Russia.

Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov apparently denied Prigozhin’s claim that he had been abandoned, saying Russian airborne units are still supporting ground forces to “stop attempts by Ukrainian forces to counterattack on the flanks.”

The Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based think tank, said the dispute was “a reflection of the growing panic in the Russian information space over speculation about planned Ukrainian counter-offensives.” This shows heightened concern among Wagner executives and the Russian Defense Ministry, and “reflects the Kremlin’s leadership not to downplay Ukraine’s achievements,” it said.

Ukrainian military officials have dismissed speculation that the fighting and forward movement at Bakhmut signaled that the expected counteroffensive was underway. Zelenskyi said in a statement broadcast on Thursday that Kiev was delaying the campaign because it did not have enough Western weapons. Some saw the purpose of the comments as to keep Russia in the dark about Ukraine’s next move.

Addressing the nation on Friday night, Zelenskyy said more weapons would come “to defeat the aggressor and restore peace.”

According to a commander of the 1st Assault Battalion of the 3rd Separate Assault Brigade, the territorial gains occurred near the Siversky-Donets Canal between the villages of Ivanivske and Kurdiumivka. He spoke on condition that he would only be addressed by his call sign, Rollo, in accordance with Ukrainian military protocol.

“This was the enemy’s bridgehead, which they planned to use in their future attacks along the canal towards Kostyantynivka,” he said. “We had to neutralize the enemy and push to the other side of the Channel.”

Another commander and a military spokesman confirmed his account.

Kostiantynivka is part of an important logistics chain leading to the city of Kramatorsk.

Rollo said the achievements were due to other successes, including one that secured an access road near Chromowe north of Bakhmut and another that allowed Ukrainian forces to recapture lost positions at the Industrial College in the town of Bakhmut.

The attack south of Bakhmut was reportedly followed by an increase in Ukrainian offensive actions near the town of Soledar on Thursday, the Russian Defense Ministry said. Russia repelled 26 Ukrainian attacks by over 1,000 troops, the ministry said, adding that up to 40 tanks were involved.

The slow and bitter battle over Bakhmut has been costly for both sides as Ukraine seeks to deny Russia any territorial gains despite its marginal strategic importance. Ukrainian forces are stationed in the city while Russian troops are attacking from the north, east and south.

At least two people have been killed and 22 injured in further fighting elsewhere in the country since Thursday, according to the Ukrainian Presidential Office.

Donetsk Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said a Russian attack hit Kramatorsk, where some Ukrainian military units are stationed, and destroyed a school and a residential building. Russian shelling hit 11 towns and villages in the region, killing 12 civilians, he said.