The Russians have been trying to take Bakhmut in the Donetsk region since August 2022 r. The heaviest and bloodiest fights take place there. Despite the forecasts indicating, that the Ukrainian command may decide to withdraw from the city, Ukrainian troops continue the bloody defense of Bakhmut.
Many observers emphasize, that for Russia the capture of this point on the map acquired a symbolic meaning. On Monday morning, Gen. Oleksandr Syrski, commander of the land forces of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, he informed, that the shock troops of Russian mercenaries from the Wagner group are attacking in Bakhmut from several directions at once. They are trying to break the Ukrainian defense line and get to the city center.
The president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, is behind the decision to defend the city with blood, who rejects calls to back down from fierce combat, although this one brings a lot of casualties – also on the Ukrainian side. This is according to Politico. Politician a few days ago – in a televised speech and an interview with CNN – he said publicly, that “it's a tactic” and emphasized, that Ukraine's top generals support this decision.
According to Politico, in the face of such losses, some analysts, however, question the tactical sense of fighting for an already ruined city. “It would be better for Zelensky to withdraw from Bakhmut much earlier, like Russia made a tactical retreat in November – although in their case it was delayed”.
Bakhmut drains Russian resources – ammunition, personal additions
According to Col. Piotr Lewandowski, from a military point of view, “The Ukrainians are riding in Bachmut on a bandwagon”.
– Keeping defenses on a four-kilometer corridor is extremely risky. The possibility of circling is very large. And it won't be a shallow lap, but a deep bypass of the Ukrainian units from several sides. Threat, that a large group of Ukrainian soldiers will end up in Russian captivity, is real – says WP Colonel Lewandowski, veteran of military missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In his opinion, Ukrainian troops will remain in Bakhmut and continue their bloody defense, looks more like the realization of the political goal of the Ukrainian president.
– It is difficult to assess unequivocally, why they take such a risk. Political considerations may come into play. The Russians suffer heavy losses there, but also Ukrainians. Supply Corridor, and also ammunition, is under constant Russian fire. They plan to continue fighting there, because they redeployed individual battalions from other brigades. These are fresh units. Bakhmut drains Russian resources – ammunition, personal additions. And Ukraine thanks to this buys time at the front. How long, we don't know... – evaluates Colonel Lewandowski.
In stronger words, he assesses the situation in the Bachmut area of Gen. Waldemar Skrzypczak, former head of the Land Forces in Poland.
– The Ukrainian military will justify the defense of Bakhmut in a military way, but that's why, that is the political will. The military will never say otherwise, than the politician wants. Just what price Ukrainians pay for “the necessary defense of Bakhmut”? There is talk of piles of corpses of Russian soldiers, and little about the casualties on the side of the Ukrainian army. Does it mean, that Ukrainians are not dying? they die. Only for the sake of the political and propaganda narrative, Kiev does not inform about it. I am not convinced – evaluates Gen. violinist.
As he adds, between Bakhmut and Kramatorsk, there are still five or six defensive lines, that are prepared. And that's where the Ukrainian troops should retreat - the Russians would suffer heavy losses.
– These are the items, where the Ukrainians could effectively defend themselves. There is a mountainous area, fortifications are built, there are minefields. In Bakhmut, the Ukrainians are practically surrounded. They still have approx. 5-6 resistance points, where the situation is dramatic. There are hardly any deliveries there, there is no supply. From my information – directly from Bakhmut – results, that Ukrainian soldiers will break through Russian lines. Just why break through, if you could back out... – reveals the former head of the Land Forces.
Apart from the fierce fighting in Bakhmut, In recent days, the Russians are also trying to conquer smaller towns, the seizure of which would make it easier for them to launch the planned offensive on a larger scale.
The fights take place in. on the so-called. in the direction of Kurachów (Wuhłedar, The passage, Awdijewka), which, combined with attempts to break through towards Kramatorsk, it could cause the entire Donetsk oblast to be covered in a large arc, the capture of which for the Russians is currently goal no 1.
– Russian advances will look similar until the very end of the war. These will be attempts to break through the Ukrainian defenses, so-called. squeezing the opponent. In my opinion, unless a major Ukrainian counter-offensive starts, then sooner or later Bakhmut will have to fall. Russia will do anything, to get this place. They need success. With victory, they want to breathe spirit into the soldiers and boost morale – evaluates Colonel Lewandowski.
In a similar vein, Gen. violinist. – For the Russians, an attack on the Donbass from Kramatorsk would be more reasonable, but they insisted on Bakhmut. If they persisted, it was the Ukrainians who could retreat to defensive positions – out of town. They would be more effective there. The Kremlin is now desperately seeking success at the front. So the Russians are storming not only in Bakhmut, but in some other places: Avdeyevka, Kreminna, Łymań or Kupiansk. And if they move a bit, they will say it, that they win. At the rate of attack they have, they will reach Kramatorsk next year in May – evaluates Gen. violinist.