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Bakhmut: The Ukraine Battle That Breaks the Russian Army?

1945 logo 1945 3/19/2023 Stavros Atlamazoglou
© Provided by 1945

The situation in and around Bakhmut remains precarious for the Ukrainian forces. Russian troops are on the offensive, and there is heavy fighting for every city block.

However, the Russian military has primarily stopped other large-scale offensive operations across the battlefield as it is running low on men and ammunition.

On day 387 of the conflict, the conflict in Ukraine continues with no end in sight.

The Russian Casualties

But the advances of the Russian forces have come at a great cost. It increasingly looks like that the private military company Wagner Group will have a small role in the conflict going forward after the heavy casualties it is suffering in the battle. However, that could change if the Kremlin gives Wagner Group the green light to recruit from prisons again.

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Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Friday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 163,320 Russian troops (and wounded approximately twice to thrice that number), destroyed 305 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 290 attack and transport helicopters, 3,506 tanks, 2,552 artillery pieces, 6,823 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 504 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 18 boats and cutters, 5,401 vehicles and fuel tanks, 265 anti-aircraft batteries, 2,145 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 258 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 907 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses. 

The Battle of Bakhmut and the Overall Battlefield

The fighting in and around the town of Bakhmut continues. The Wagner Group mercenary groups, supported by the Russian military, are attacking from three directions.

After a Russian offensive that captured the eastern part of the town, the Ukrainian defenses stabilized the situation at the Bakhmutka River, a waterway that divides Bakhmut.

However, the Russian forces have pushed and established small footholds west of the Bakhmutka River. The river is located in the center of the town. 

The Ukrainian forces still seem committed to the defense of Bakhmut. But to waste the garrison there would be folly for Kyiv. Another Mariupol isn’t necessary 13 months into the war. What Ukraine needs now is experienced troops that can be replenished by eager volunteers.

When it comes to the overall battlefield, the Russian forces have largely stopped with large-scale offensives.

Indeed, it seems that the Russian military is running low on men and ammunition and that it can only support one major offensive at a time.

“This is most likely because Russian forces have temporarily depleted the deployed formations’ combat power to such an extent that even local offensive actions are not currently sustainable,” the British Military Intelligence assessed in its latest estimate of the war.

“Russian leaders will likely seek to regenerate the offensive potential of the force once personnel and munition stocks are replenished. In the meantime, commanders will likely be forced to choose between carrying out offensive operations and conducting a credible defence of the full line,” the British Military Intelligence added.

1945’s Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist with specialized expertise in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.


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