Col. Gen. Oleksandr Syrskyi, the head of Ukrainian ground forces, signaled that a new counteroffensive would occur "very soon" as Russia and its allies bleed forces.
In a Thursday post on Telegram, Syrskyi said Wagner Group mercenaries fighting on behalf of Russia "are losing considerable strength and are running out of steam" while attempting to take Bakhmut.
"The aggressor does not give up hope of taking Bakhmut at any cost, regardless of the losses in manpower or equipment. The main forces of the Russian Federation in this direction are representatives of the Wagner PMC," he wrote.
"Very soon, we will take advantage of this opportunity, as we once did near Kyiv, Kharkiv, Balakliia, and Kupiansk."
His statement comes after the U.K. Ministry of Defense said Ukrainian forces already had launched a small counterattack west of Bakhmut to relieve pressure on a main route used for supplies.
"There is a realistic possibility that the Russian assault on the town is losing the limited momentum it had obtained, partially because some Russian MoD [Ministry of Defense] units have been reallocated to other sectors," the U.K. ministry wrote.
The Institute for the Study of War, a United States-based think tank covering the ongoing invasion, assessed earlier this month that Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin appears to have ordered a "tactical pause" in the Bakhmut siege.
"Wagner fighters have been conducting highly attritional frontal assaults on eastern Bakhmut for nine months and are likely not prepared to conduct a crossing of the Bakhmutka River to the Bakhmut city center at this time," ISW determined.
Meanwhile, Prigozhin denied a recent Bloomberg report that suggested that he is gearing up to reduce Wagner's involvement due to a major dispute with the Russian Ministry of Defense, according to CNBC.
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