The Wagner fighting group and Russian military commanders may briefly have reached a truce, enabling their forces jointly to make headway in Ukraine.
Russian forces have regained some momentum in the battle for the Ukrainian town of Bakhmut, according to the latest intelligence from the United Kingdom. This is in contrast to reports from two weeks ago, saying that Russia’s assault on the Donbas town has largely stalled.
READ MORE about the battle for Bakhmut
The Ministry of Defence says Russian troops have likely advanced into the town centre and have seized the west bank of the Bakhmutka River.
It would mean the key Ukrainian supply route to the west of the town is likely severely threatened.
Furthermore, the MOD says there is a “realistic possibility” that Wagner mercenary and Russian MOD commanders have “paused their ongoing feud” locally and improved co-operation.
Russian president Vladimir Putin is reported to have sacked the commander of his Eastern Group of Forces (EGF), Colonel-General Rustam Muradov, after he presided over a series of failed assaults in eastern Ukraine that led to the deaths of huge numbers of his troops.
The MOD said reports on Russian social media suggesting Muradov had been dismissed were highly likely to be accurate, as the EGF had suffered exceptionally heavy casualties in recent months.
This was a result of poorly conceived assaults that had repeatedly failed to capture the Donetsk Oblast town of Vuhledar, the British Armed Forces said in its latest defence update.