The Wagner private mercenary group appears to be taking a “tactical pause” in Bakhmut, according to the Institute for the Study of Warfare in its daily update. The ISW believes that Wagner is waiting for sufficient Russian conventional troop reinforcements to arrive before taking a secondary position in the most violent battle of the war.
Waiting for the Russians to take the lead
Russian forces likely advanced northwest of Bakhmut on March 9 amid a possible increase in the pace of Russian offensive operations in the area.
The leader of the Wagner Group Yevgeny Prigozhin claimed that his fighters cfully captured Dubovo-Vasilivka, 6 km northwest of Bajmut.
Trouble with troops and ammunition
Russian forces may be preparing to resume the offensive around Vuhledar although persistent personnel and ammunition problems are likely to continue to limit the advance of Russian forces, the think tank says.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu would have ordered the commander of the Eastern Military District to take Vuhledar at all costs to placate widespread criticism within the Russian Defense Ministry about the lack of progress and heavy losses in the Vuhledar area.
Unachieved rate of progress
The ISW believes that Russian forces would need to advance more than 24 km on the current front lines around Vuhledar for this offensive to support operations in other parts of the Donetsk region.
and that is a rate of advance that Russian forces have not achieved since the first months of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.