Footage shows humiliating Russian retreat in Bakhmut

From ‘Victory Day’… to running away! Footage shows humiliating Russian retreat in Bakhmut after Putin was forced to scale back annual military parade due to his army’s devastating losses

  • Russian forces were overwhelmed by Ukraine’s 3rd Assault Brigade, reports said
  • Footage showed them fleeing across an open field as Kyiv’s troops advanced 

Russian forces made a humiliating retreat on Tuesday in the battle for Bakhmut, according to dramatic footage, on the same day Putin was forced to scale back his annual military parade due to his army’s devastating losses.

The video appears to confirm reports that Vladimir Putin’s regular forces ‘turned and ran’, with Ukraine claiming it is gaining ground around the fiercely contested city after months of incremental Russian advances.

Footage shows Russian forces fleeing the frontline around the eastern city after being overwhelmed by Ukraine’s 3rd Assault Brigade.

This had been alleged first by close Kremlin henchman Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the Wagner mercenary army, as he blasted the performance of the Russian armed forces and especially their commanders in the battle that has raged on for months.

The footage of the Russian retreat was posted online – embarrassingly – as Putin in his annual Red Square Victory Day parade speech on Tuesday told his troops: ‘Your combat activities now are of paramount importance. The country’s security depends on you today as does the future of our statehood and our people.’

Russian forces made a humiliating retreat on Tuesday in the battle for Bakhmut, according to this dramatic aerial footage, on the same day Putin was forced to scale back his annual military parade due to his army’s devastating losses

The footage of the Russian retreat was posted online – embarrassingly – as President Vladimir Putin, in his annual Red Square Victory Day parade speech on Tuesday (pictured), told his troops: ‘Your combat activities now are of paramount importance’

Pictured: A single Second World War-era T-34 tank is seen rolling through Moscow’s Red Square on Tuesday as part of Vladimir Putin’s Victory Day parade. The parade normally sees dozens of the most up-to-date military hardware Russia has in its arsenal on display

Ukraine claims that it eliminated 64 Russian ‘occupant’ fighters, and left 87 more wounded, while capturing many PoWs on the southwestern outskirts of Bakhmut.

According to the US-based think tank the Institute for the Study of War, Prigozhin claimed Russia’s 72nd Motorized Rifle Brigade of the 3rd Army Corps abandoned a strategic position, resulting in 500 Wagner casualties.

READ MORE: Russia sends out just ONE tank on Victory Day parade as Putin’s depleted military suffers continued losses in Ukraine 

What’s more, reports say several depots of Russian ammunition including mortars were destroyed along with armoured personnel carriers.

The video – a combination of drone and first-person footage – showed Ukraine’s forces advancing rapidly across an open field near Bakhmut.

The drone footage shows the tank rolling through a treeline while firing off a machine gun, as Russian soldiers are seen turning and running.

Ukrainian soldiers are then seen advancing through the trees, ruthlessly picking off any stragglers that have chosen to hold their positions.

Other Russian soldiers are seen running out of military transport vehicles and fleeing through another treeline, which they are chased in to by Ukrainian forces.

One part of the footage shows Ukrainian artillery landing near a personnel carrier – one of four Russian vehicles sat in a line in the open field.

Meanwhile, the first person footage from a Ukrainian soldier shows a gun battle on the ground. Kyiv’s troops are seen firing off shots as they move through a ditch as Putin’s troops turn tails and run in the opposite direction.

Over many months pro-Putin forces have inched forwards in a stalemate battle that has cost thousands of lives on both sides.

Now, with Ukraine poised to stage another counter offensive, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s troops have scored a significant local victory.

‘The advance of the [Ukrainian] 3rd Assault Brigade defeated units of the [Russian] 72nd Brigade,’ said Colonel Andriy Biletsky, of the Ukrainian national guards, formerly head of the Azov brigade.

‘The 6th and 8th companies of that [Russian] brigade were completely destroyed. The brigade’s reconnaissance force is defeated,’ he said.

‘A significant number of BMPs [infantry fighting vehicles] were destroyed and many prisoners were taken. The so-called 3rd assault squad of the Wagner [Russian private military company] suffered significant losses.

‘The offensive was conducted in an area 3 kilometres [1.9 miles] wide and 2.6km [1.6 miles] deep,’ Biletsky continued.

‘The entire area was completely liberated from the Russian occupying forces.’

In the video message he told his Ukrainian troops: ‘It is a great honour to fight beside you, to serve with you, to command you. You are real warriors, real heroes who have shown what the Ukrainian fighting spirit is. Glory to Ukraine.’

The main Russian push in Bakhmut has been by Wagner forces, mainly mercenaries, volunteers and convicts freed from jail to fight by Putin.

Pictured: Russian troops are seen fleeing across an open field away from advancing Ukrainian forces, who are said to have overwhelmed Russian positions near Bakhmut

Pictured: A blast from an artillery shell is seen just feet away from a Russian military transport vehicle near the city of Bakhmut

Colonel Andriy Biletsky, of the Ukrainian national guards, gave an update on the situation around Bakhmut in a post on social media. He said Russia’s ‘6th and 8th companies […] were completely destroyed. The brigade’s reconnaissance force is defeated’

In a desperate attempt to seize the city earlier in the conflict, Wagner employed ‘human wave’ tactics, crashing unit after unit against Ukraine’s defences. 

Estimates suggest as many as 40,000 Wagner fighters were killed.

Despite the massive push, Ukraine’s defenders have managed to cling on to parts of the city and stopped Russia from advancing any further west in the region. 

Prigozhin again threatened to today to pull his forces out of Bakhmut due to a lack of ammunition supplies by the Russian defence ministry.

He was threatened with treason if he did so. 

A furious Prigozhin savaged Putin’s forces as a fish – rotting from the head.

He accused Russian commanders appointed by Putin of allowing their soldiers to die in vain. ‘One of the Ministry of Defence’s detachments ran away from one of the flanks,’ said a raging Prigozhin. They abandoned their positions.

‘All of them ran away’ – leaving a key area of the frontline exposed.

‘This is not the problem of soldiers, but of those who manage them and set their tasks,’ said billionaire Prigozhin, nicknamed Putin’s ‘chef’, who set up Wagner in support of the dictator.

He has repeatedly warned of the failures in Russia’s high command, suggesting it can lead to losing the war to Ukraine.

‘A fish rots from its head, and if decision-making is done through the ****, soldiers leave because there is no point to die in vain.’

Yesterday, said his fighters had yet to receive ammunition promised to them by the military – but that they would continue to fight in the embattled eastern city of Bakhmut despite earlier threatening to withdraw them. 

The threat of departure marked another flare-up in Prigozhin’s long-running dispute with Russia’s military brass over credit and tactics in the war. 

On Tuesday, he contrasted the pomp of the May 9 celebrations, broadcast across Russia, with the reality on the ground.

‘Victory Day marks the victory of our grandfathers; we did not deserve a single bit of this victory. The counteroffensive will be on the ground, not on television,’ Prigozhin warned, adding that the Russian state is ‘unable to defend the country.’

Prigozhin has become known for such inflammatory, headline-grabbing statements, particularly at key moments when attention is focused elsewhere – but issuing them on Victory Day was remarkably bold.

Pictured: Hundreds of Russian servicemen march through Moscow’s Red Square on May 9 after Putin’s Victory Day address

Pictured: Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu drives an Aurus cabriolet during a military parade on Victory Day, which marks the 78th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two, in Red Square in central Moscow, Russia May 9

Pictured: Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems drive in front of the Kremlin in Moscow, May 9, after the parade

Footage of the retreat came after Putin hosted Russia’s annual May 9 Victory Day parade to mark the 78th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s defeat of Nazi Germany.

‘Today civilization is once again at a decisive turning point,’ Putin said at the annual commemorations ‘A real war has been unleashed against our motherland.’

The Russian leader has repeatedly sought to paint his invasion of Ukraine as necessary to defend against a Western threat. Kyiv and its Western allies say they pose no such threat and that Moscow’s war is meant to deter Western influence in a country that Russia considers part of its sphere of influence.

Putin has often used patriotic rhetoric that harkens back to the earlier war in an effort to rally his citizens and forces – and May 9 is one of the most important dates in the Russian political calendar. 

But this year’s celebrations were markedly smaller, at least partially because of security concerns after several drone attacks have been reported inside Russia.

Some 8,000 troops took part in the parade in Moscow’s Red Square on Tuesday – the lowest number since 2008. Even the procession in 2020, the year of the COVID-19 pandemic, featured some 13,000 soldiers, and last year, 11,000 troops took part.

There was no fly-over of military jets, and the event lasted less than the usual hour.

‘This is weak. There are no tanks,’ said Yelena Orlova, watching the vehicles rumble down Moscow’s Novy Arbat avenue after leaving Red Square. ‘We’re upset, but that’s all right; it will be better in the future.’

The Kremlin’s forces deployed in Ukraine are defending a front line stretching more than 600 miles, presumably thinning the ranks of troops available for such displays.

‘This is supposed to be a showpiece for Russian military might. But so much of that military might has already been mauled in Ukraine that Russia has very little to show on its parade in Red Square,’ said Keir Giles, a Russia expert at London’s Chatham House think tank.

As a display of military hardware it was ‘very underwhelming,’ said Michael Clarke, visiting professor of war studies at King’s College London, noting that the T-34, the iconic World War II tank, was the only tank on display. 

‘Normally they show off all the really modern stuff, and they didn’t have any of those. Nor did they seem to have armored fighting vehicles. – So there was nothing new on display.’

Meanwhile, the traditional Immortal Regiment processions, in which crowds take to the streets holding portraits of relatives who died or served in World War II – a pillar of the holiday – were canceled in multiple cities.

‘That seems to be for fear that those people who have lost their relatives in this current war on Ukraine might actually join the processions and show just the scale of the casualties that Russia has suffered in its current war,’ Giles said.

Russian media counted 24 cities that also scrapped military parades – another staple of the celebrations – for the first time in years. 

Regional officials blamed unspecified ‘security concerns’ or vaguely referred to ‘the current situation’ for the restrictions and cancellations. It wasn’t clear whether their decisions were taken in coordination with the Kremlin.

Meanwhile, Russia’s air defence forces shot down an ‘enemy’ drone in the Kursk region bordering Ukraine, its governor said on Wednesday, adding that falling debris damaged a gas pipeline and a house.

Pictured: Ukrainian army Grad multiple rocket launcher fires rockets at Russian positions in the frontline near Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, May 3

Pictured: Ukrainian soldiers fire a cannon near Bakhmut, an eastern city where fierce battles against Russian forces have been taking place, in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, May 3

Smoke erupts following a shell explosion, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine in this screengrab obtained from a handout video released on May 7

‘Debris fell in the village of Tolmachevo. No one was hurt,’ the regional governor, Roman Starovoyt, said on the Telegram messaging app.

Reuters was not able to immediately verify the report.

Ukraine almost never publicly claims responsibility for attacks inside Russia and on Russian-controlled territory in Ukraine.

However, Kyiv has recently said that undermining Russia’s logistics is part of preparation for a planned counteroffensive.

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