Why a Bakhmut breakthrough for Russia seems unlikely

Ukraine is ramping up its reinforcements in the city of Bakhmut, making a breakthrough for Russia in the hardest-hit region seem increasingly unlikely after 10 months of war.

Britain’s Defense Ministry said on Tuesday that over the past 10 days, Ukraine has committed significant reinforcements to defend Bakhmut amid escalating fighting in the city, which is in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region.

A Ukrainian soldier near Bakhmut
A Ukrainian soldier from an artillery unit fires towards Russian positions outside Bakhmut on November 8, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Ukraine is increasing its reinforcements in the city.

In its daily assessment of the Ukrainian warthe ministry noted that while infantry attacks by the Russian armed forces and the Wagner Group increased in frequency in mid-December, these operations were “poorly supported.”

And as Ukraine has stepped up its defense in the bloody battle for Bakhmut, the frequency of Russian attacks has likely dropped from last month’s peak, the Defense Ministry assessed, noting that both Ukraine and Russia have suffered a large number of low.

“Russian offensive operations in the area are now likely to be carried out only at the platoon or section level,” the ministry concluded. “Russia is unlikely to make a significant breakthrough near Bakhmut in the coming weeks.”

Bakhmut is one of the most intense places of fighting in the war.and Russian forces in the region are led by members of a notorious mercenary unit, the Wagner Group, founded by Yevgeny Prigozhin, an ally of the Russian president. Vladimir Putin.

Serhiy Haidai, the Ukrainian governor of the partially Russian-occupied Lugansk region, said on his Telegram channel on December 26 that thousands of Russian soldiers have died in the battle for Bakhmut.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) quoted Prigozhin on Monday saying that the Ukrainian forces have heavily fortified the residential area around Bakhmut so there is a new line of defense “every 10 meters”.

According to the US-based think tank, Russian forces continued to conduct ground attacks near Bakhmut and in the Avdiivka area, some 60 miles south of Bakhmut, on January 1 and 2 “at a low rate forward”.

Meanwhile, a video of a Ukrainian soldier has circulated on social media describing how his forces have consistently stopped Russian attacks on Bakhmut.

“Friends, this is what one of the districts of the city of Bakhmut looks like right now,” the soldier said in the clip that was shared by Twitter user Dmitri, who is with WarTranslated, an independent project that deals with translating various materials about the war into English.

“Friends, regarding the operational situation on the morning of January 2, all the attack attempts on our area of ​​operations have been repelled, although they were quite massive in our defense sector,” the soldier said.

“They came like cockroaches, we had to bring the ammunition several times,” he continued.

“In short, as for the Bakhmut conglomerate: the defense line is standing and holding, don’t worry, keep your nerves, everyone is in their place doing their job,” added the Ukrainian military. “Bajmut is Ukraine. It was, is and will continue to stand.”

roman kostenkosaid a Ukrainian commander news week last month that Russia’s hard push for Bakhmut shows that Moscow “overestimated” the strength of its forces.

“Despite all the difficulties, we are sticking with it,” said Kostenko, who commands a special forces unit. “This showdown over Bakhmut is really revealing, because it shows how the Russians overestimated their own strength. The picture of an unstoppable force [President Vladimir Putin] tried to project at the start of the invasion has been overshadowed by the reality of a weak and unmotivated army”.

“We see this in Bakhmut, where the Russians throw everything at us, they say they have a 9:1 advantage over our forces and yet they haven’t been able to take it,” he said.

news week contacted the Russian Foreign Ministry for comment.

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