The Chicago Journal

Bakhmut a pivotal area in Russian invasion

Image Commercially Licensed from: DepositPhotos
Image Commercially Licensed from: DepositPhotos

Bakhmut More than a year later, Russia has still not removed its soldiers from Ukraine.

The Ukrainian army decreased its positions in Bakhmut in the latter weeks of February and early March.

Notwithstanding the redeployment, they have not turned over control of the city to Russian forces.

Instead, the strategy is likely to cut mortality while luring Russian forces.

The conquest

President Vladimir Putin of Russia has declared war on the Donbas area, namely the eastern provinces of Luhansk and Donetsk.

Bakhmut in Donetsk, he claims, is the solution.

“We understand that after Bakhmut, they could go farther,” said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. 

“They could go to Kramatorsk. They could go to Sloviansk. It would be open road for the Russians after Bakhmut to other towns in Ukraine in the Donetsk direction.”

Ukraine has retained Bakhmut for as long as necessary.

Focus on the city

They beefed up their soldiers with special forces on Sunday, while Russian fighters from the Wagner mercenary outfit invaded the northern suburbs.

His top commanders, according to Zelensky, want to continue the defense operation and improve their position in Bakhmut.

Despite his lack of detail, the Center for the Study of War decided that Bakhmut had hampered the Russians by diverting their focus away from other sectors of the front.

“The Ukrainian defense of Bakhmut remains strategically sound as it continues to consume Russian manpower and equipment as long as Ukrainian forces do not suffer excessive casualties,” said the Study of War.

“Russian forces are unlikely to quickly secure significant territorial gains when conducting urban warfare, which usually favors the defender and can allow Ukrainian forces to inflict high casualties on advancing Russian units – even as Ukrainian forces are actively withdrawing.”

Crunching some figures

Ukraine lost one soldier for every seven Russians in Bakhmut, according to Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council.

According to US White House officials, as of February 17, the Wagner Group, which has centered its operations in the Bakhmut area, has sustained 30,000 casualties, including over 9,000 fatalities.

Russia is anticipated to commit 190,000 soldiers to the February 24, 2022 strike.

They’ve acquired 316,000 since then.

Ukraine is said to have slain about 150,000 Russian servicemen.

But, Ukraine’s military intelligence chief, Kyrlo Budanov, told USA Today that Russia’s fatalities made mounting a big attack after spring difficult.

“Russia has wasted huge amounts of human resources, armaments, and materials,” said Budanov.

“Its economy and productions are not able to cover these losses. If Russia’s military fails in its aims this spring, it will be out of military tools.”

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Controlling the withdrawal

Ukraine began its pullout from Bakhmut on February 28.

A tactical withdrawal, according to presidential adviser Alexander Rodnyansky, was not out of the cards.

“So far [our troops] have held the city but if need be, they will strategically back because we’re not going to sacrifice all of our people just for nothing,” he elaborated.

Serhiy Rakhmanin, a Ukrainian Parliamentarian, added along, saying:

“I believe that sooner or later, we will probably have to leave Bakhmut. There is no sense in holding it at any cost.”

“But for the moment, Bakhmut will be defended with several aims,” he added.

“Firstly, to inflict as many Russian losses as possible and make Russia use its ammunition and resources.”

Halting advances

Despite Zelesnky’s assertion that their forces had control of the sector of the front, Ukraine’s army general command claimed on March 1 that Russian troops were still marching towards Bakhmut.

Two days later, Ukrainian soldiers began blowing up bridges near Bakhmut, indicating a limited withdrawal.

One bridge connects the city’s eastern and western halves, while another runs west of Bakhmut to Khromov.

If Bakhmut surrendered, Ukrainian forces planned to obstruct Russian advances in the city and postpone quick deployment.

Russian military problems

Wagner CEO Yevgeny Prigozhin declared in a Telegram video:

“Units of the private military Wagner have practically surrounded Bakhmut. Only one route [out] is left. The pincers are closing.”

Prigozhin is also having issues, stating on social media that the Russian military ministry is not giving him enough ammo to complete the mission.

In a letter, he emphasized the need of providing ammunition to the commander of Russia’s military assault in Ukraine.

“On March 6, at 8 o’clock in the morning, my representative at the headquarters had his pass canceled and was denied access to the group’s headquarters,” he wrote.

The Russian defense ministry, on the other hand, has been wary of Yevgeny Prigozhin, who has boasted about the capabilities of his organization while insinuating that the Russian military is weak.

Prigozhin claimed possession of half of Bakhmut on Wednesday, and geolocated footage corroborated his assertions that Ukraine had been forced to the west side of the river.