A Russian reserve army of 15,000 soldiers is pinned down near Bakhmut and will be destroyed, says Ukraine's spy chief

A Russian reserve army of 15,000 soldiers is pinned down near Bakhmut and will be destroyed, says Ukraine's spy chief
  • Russia has deployed a new military formation of about 15,000 soldiers to fight around Bakhmut.

  • Ukraine's spy chief, Kyrylo Budanov, said the 25th Army was deployed earlier than planned.

  • Budanov said Ukraine is pinning down Putin's forces near Bakhmut to prevent redeployment to the south.

Ukraine is pinning down a newly created Russian reserve force near Bakhmut and is confident the 15,000-strong unit will be destroyed, Ukraine's spy chief says.

Kyrylo Budanov told The War Zone that Ukraine was pinning down Russian forces in Bakhmut to prevent them from being deployed to other axes where its counteroffensive is pushing forward.

"The Russians recently redeployed their only reserve force - the 25th Army - which was just recently raised and hasn't completed its creation," he said.

"Now it's redeployed to roughly the north of Bakhmut, and that's the place where it's going to be buried."

The 25th Combined Arms Army was created this summer, in a rare move for the Russian military, which has rarely established new organizations throughout the conflict, the UK's Ministry of Defence said in August.

The unit was suddenly deployed to the front lines, despite soldiers being told they would be sent to fight in December, the UK department said in an update earlier this month.

Their rushed deployment was likely a sign that Russia "continues to grapple with an over-stretched force along the front," the update said.

It is not clear when exactly the unit was deployed.

While fighting continues to rage around the eastern city of Bakhmut, which Russia occupied in May, Ukraine's counteroffensive has been pushing forward in the Zaporizhzhia area in the south of the country.

Oleksandr Tarnavsky, the Ukrainian general leading the counteroffensive on the country's southern front line, told CNN in a report published Saturday that his troops had broken near the city of Verbove in the southeastern Zaporizhzhia region and that they continued to advance further.

Budanov said: "The threat for Russians to lose Bakhmut makes them redeploy at all times additional and additional forces to the Bakhmut area, which of course drains their resources from other directions like the south."

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