Ukraine’s staunch resistance in the battle for Bakhmut in the Donetsk region appears to be paying off as Russia’s offensive in the city is losing momentum, according to military intelligence.
Russian and Ukrainian forces have been engaged in a bloody fight for the city since July, in what has become the longest-running battle since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine last February.
Moscow is hoping to secure its first major battlefield victory by capturing Bakhmut, a small industrial city with a pre-war population of 70,000. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has said that the Russian Armed Forces will be able to advance deep inside Ukraine if Bakhmut falls.
After days of deliberation about a possible tactical withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from Bakhmut, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced on March 6 that his troops would be staying put to defend the city.
Zelensky said his top commanders told him “not to withdraw” and suggested instead strengthening the city’s defenses.
And in a boost for Ukrainian troop morale, the Ukrainian leader visited army positions near the front line town and rewarded soldiers with medals.
That effort appears to be working in Ukraine’s favor, according to recent analysis of the conflict by Western intelligence.
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British military intelligence has assessed that Russia’s offensive to seize the town could be losing momentum.
The British Ministry of Defence said in an assessment of the conflict in Ukraine on Wednesday that over recent days, Ukrainian forces initiated a local counterattack to the west of Bakhmut, something that is likely to “relieve pressure on the threatened H-32 supply route.”
The ministry said fighting continues around the town center and the Ukrainian defense remains at risk from envelopment from the north and south.
It assessed that there is a “realistic possibility” that the Russian assault on the town is losing the limited momentum it had obtained, partially because some Russian defense ministry units have been reallocated to other sectors.
Ukraine’s military General Staff also said Russia’s push appears to be losing steam.
“The enemy continues to conduct offensive operations, suffering major casualties, losing significant amount of weapons and military equipment,” the General Staff of the Ukraine Army said in an update on the conflict on Thursday. “Ukrainian defenders have been repelling numerous round-the-clock enemy attacks in the vicinities of Bakhmut, Bohdanivka, and Predtechyne.”
Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s minister of internal affairs, has outlined the importance of Bakhmut remaining under Ukrainian control.
He told Newsweek on February 17 that Bakhmut is “a live wall that allows us to prepare our troops for de-occupation”—implying that a successful defense of the city could put the Ukrainians in a position to launch a counteroffensive.
“The enemy continues to conduct offensive operations, suffering major casualties, losing significant amount of weapons and military equipment,”
The decades it took the Soviet Union to produce, the decades cockroach mothers took to raise, the top roach in the Kremlin is burning up within months, in a small town in eastern Ukraine for a victory that’s as graspable as a handful of water. Well done, Putler, for helping Ukraine to destroy your filthy army.
Putler gave the order to capture all of the Donbas by the end of March. They have a week left, it’s very doubtful the orcs will even take Bakhmut by the end of March, never mind Donbas.
Never thought they would in the first place.