Russia’s military leadership exaggerates the significance of capturing Bakhmut against the background of the vulnerability of the combat situation for Russian troops in the wider area.
That’s according to the U.S.-based Institute for the Study of War, Ukrinform reports.
“The Russian military situation in Bakhmut is particularly vulnerable as the Russian offensive effort in the area has likely culminated, granting Ukrainian forces the opportunity to launch further counterattacks on Bakhmut’s already-weakened flanks,” the report said.
The withdrawal of the Wagner Group is also likely to result in the Russian Ministry of Defense manning defensive lines in Bakhmut with poorly trained and provisioned conventional units similar to those that retreated from their positions while defending against Ukrainian counterattacks earlier in May, the report said. However, the Russian information space is largely ignoring these vulnerabilities.
ISW notes that Russian ultranationalist Igor Girkin previously complained that Russia’s focus on capturing Bakhmut was a “strategic failure” that resulted in an “unnecessary and Pyrrhic” victory.
Girkin criticized Wagner Group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, Defense Minster Sergei Shoigu, and Chief of the General Staff Valeriy Gerasimov for prolonging the attempts to capture Bakhmut and distracting from preparations to defend against a coming Ukrainian counteroffensive.
“The hyperfocus on claiming victory in Bakhmut distracts from the precarious Russian military situation in and around Bakhmut, underscoring the weight of Prigozhin’s influence in the information space,” the report says.
As reported earlier, the town of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region was actually completely destroyed as a result of massive shelling by the Russian army. At the same time, Ukraine’s Defense Forces continue to hold positions in its southwestern part, repelling the Russian army.
Earlier, the leader of Wagner Group, Yevgeniy Prigozhin, through his press service announced the “complete takeover” of Bakhmut.
“The withdrawal of the Wagner Group is also likely to result in the Russian Ministry of Defense manning defensive lines in Bakhmut with poorly trained and provisioned conventional units…”
I think that chances are good that for as long as there are Wagner rats still alive, they will be forced to stay right where they are.