Russia has revealed that two of its colonels were killed in Bakhmut while fighting Ukrainian forces.
In a rare announcement of combat losses, the Russian Ministry of Defense confirmed the deaths of Colonel Vyacheslav Makarov of the 4th motorized rifle brigade and Colonel Yevgeny Brovko, deputy commander of the army corps for military-political work.
Both are said to have died “while repelling attacks.”
Tass, a news agency closely affiliated with the Russian government, stated that Russian Ministry of Defense representative Lieutenant-General Igor Konashenkov confirmed the deaths.
Konashenkov said Makarov led his unit on the front line and claimed two Ukrainian attacks were repelled.
He added: “In the course of repelling the third attack, the brigade commander was seriously wounded and died during the evacuation from the battlefield.”
According to Tass: “Brovko died heroically during the battle to repeal one of the attacks, he received multiple shrapnel wounds.”
The Institute for the Study of War stated on Saturday, May 13 that Ukrainian forces have continued to counterattack in the Bakhmut area amid unconfirmed claims of small-scale gains by the country. It said a Russian military blogger claimed Ukrainian forces established positions on the outskirts of Kurdumivka just southwest of Bakhmut.
The military blogger also claimed Russian forces had been ambushed behind the Siversky Donets-Donbas canal in the area.
Russia has faced several setbacks in recent weeks with Ukraine claiming Moscow lost 48 artillery systems in two days.
Kremlin officials are also facing public criticism from Wagner mercenary founder Yevgeny Prigozhin. In a video shared with English subtitles on Twitter, Prigozhin contradicted Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson Konashenkov, who said troops were regrouping away from Bakhmut.
Instead, Prigozhin claimed that it was not a tactical retreat and that in fact, Russian troops were fleeing.
He added: “The Defense Ministry’s attempts to smooth over the situation somehow in the media space are leading – and will lead – to a global tragedy for Russia. So stop lying immediately.
“If you’ve [Russian defense ministry] run away, set up new lines of defense. But what you’ve trained for that defense is not capable of holding that defense. They are simply nobodies. And so what has been happening recently and what I’ve been warning about for a long time, is coming to pass. And it’s leading to a great tragedy for our country.”
Newsweek has contacted the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense for comment.