The commander, who used the codename Duke, said Wagner used untrained prisoners in the first wave and then, an hour or two later, when the Ukrainian army was tired, dispatched Special forces entered, attacking from the flanks. “It’s a very good tactic,” Duke said.
However, Ukraine was able to use Bakhmut as a kill box to crush a large number of newly mobilized Russian soldiers who were sent to the battlefield late last year, he said. Even Wagner’s forces are said to have been worn down since the summer.
“We broke their spines; we killed all their military personnel,” Major Pantsyrny said.
He said that there seemed to be only a handful of professional soldiers left to direct the thousands of prisoners who had been recruited to join the ranks, and the losses showed: “They try something, but the results are not. as before.”
However, the Russian army moved forward in greater numbers, supported by tens of thousands of recruits and through sheer brute force. According to a unit of soldiers, sometimes they destroy entire residential areas to take out a sniper.
But Russian casualties, especially Wagner’s, were enormous, and Ukrainian commanders more confidently asserted that the Russians had little fighting left. Oleksandr, the company’s commander, said: “Russia is attacking to the last step.
Duke said Ukrainian casualties were also steadily increasing and there was a shortage of volunteers in places on the front lines. In November, he was given urgent orders to “gather all the people in our unit, the chef, the driver, the press staff, the photographer, all the staff, take up the rifle and go to Bakhmut area.”
By the end of February, they had rotated out with 50% of the servicemen wounded, he said, some depressed and lethargic.