A Blog by Jonathan Low


Sep 8, 2023

Ukraine Shells "Disastrous" Russian Daytime Mass Retreat South of Bakhmut

Klishchiivka has been one of the crucial objectives for Ukrainian troops fighting to surround and retake Bakhmut. 

This week, Ukrainian pressure finally proved too much for Russian defenders, who began to retreat, en masse - on foot - in broad daylight. Ukrainian forces attacked with artillery and tank fire, including cluster munitions, and decimated the Russians. JL 

Yevgeny Kuklychev reports in Newsweek:

Russian troops fleeing en masse from their positions as artillery shells, including cluster munitions raining down on Russian soldiers as they run up a village road, took place in Klishchiivka, southwest of Bakhmut, of which Ukraine is regaining control. "Just like in Urozhaine, Russians chose the worst possible moment for their retreat: During the day and without armored vehicles. Absolutely disastrous."  The retreat in broad daylight resulted in huge casualties for Putin's forces. The Ukrainian 3rd Assault Brigade claims there are "only one and a half streets left in Klishchiivka that Russian troops are trying to control."

Russian troops appear to be fleeing en masse from their positions as artillery shells rain down on them in a new video released on one of the Ukrainian military channels and shared on social media.

The two-minute clip indicates the events took place in Klishchiivka, a settlement to the southwest of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region, which Ukraine claims to be regaining full control over.

Both sides are reported to be suffering huge losses amid intense artillery fire, including controversial cluster munitions which both Ukraine and Russia are said to be deploying at the frontlines.

A 2-minute 20-second supercut of drone footage showing multiple strikes, allegedly with cluster munitions, on Russian soldiers as they run up a village road, was published on the Ukraine military-linked Operativno ZSU Telegram channel on Thursday.

"Russkies flee from Klishchiivka under the fire of cluster munitions," the caption for the video states.


While the original post does not provide additional details, OSINT accounts offered further insight and context into the video, noting that the retreat in broad daylight was resulting in huge casualties for Putin's forces.

"This footage shows the withdrawal of Russian troops from Klishchiivka, while being hammered," (((Tendar))), a Germany-based account focused on publishing Ukraine war footage wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

"Just like in Urozhaine Russians have chosen the worst possible moment for their retreat: During the day and without any armored vehicles. Absolutely disastrous," it added.

Recent reports indicated that Ukraine was making steady gains in several directions along the frontline, after its forces liberated the village of Robotyne last week, a development that Russian officials referred to as a "tactical retreat."

Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said on Monday that Ukrainian troops had made gains near Klishchiivka, while Maksym Zhorin, Deputy Commander of the 3rd Assault Brigade from Bakhmut, claimed that there are "only about one and a half streets left in Klishchiivka that Russian troops are trying to control."

"This is the situation along the entire Klishchiivka-Andriivka-Kurdiumivka line. The enemy is constantly rolling back a little bit, creating positions on the move and trying to gain a foothold," the Ukrainian military commander wrote on Telegram.


Detailed maps of alleged Ukrainian advances in each region were released as part of ISW's report on Thursday, including one showing the Ukrainian military appears to be making advances to the north and south of Bakhmut.

ISW Bakhmut Counteroffensive Map
This map from the Institute for the Study of War shows Ukrainian advances near Bakhmut in the Donetsk region as of September 7, 2023.INSTITUTE FOR THE STUDY OF WAR

Russia has not commented on the situation around Klishchiivka since last Friday, when the Russian military spokesman Igor Konashenkov said that their positions in Klishchiivka were "improving," as quoted by state news agency Interfax.

Konashenkov himself has not appeared in public for at least five days. Newsweek reached out to the Russian and Ukrainian defense ministries for comment via email.


However, unofficial Russian sources including prominent "mil-bloggers", the pro-Kremlin war reporters, appeared to concede Russia's losses in the area.

"In the Bakhmut direction, the Ukrainian Armed Forces managed to advance slightly north of Andreevka and in Kleshcheevka. Most of the last named settlements are under their control," Semyon Pegov, known as WarGonzo, wrote on Telegram.


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