The fighting in Ukraine continues with no respite as the Russian military is looking for an operations breakthrough in the Donbas. On day 358 of the war, the Russian forces are pushing hard around Bakhmut.
Ukraine Update: Heavy Fighting on the Ground in Bakhmut
The situation in Bakhmut is getting increasingly precarious for the Ukrainian forces.
With the sheer brute force of numbers, the Russian forces have managed to advance in the north and south of the town and are now threatening the Ukrainian defenders with encirclement.
The battle is not yet desperate for Kyiv, but Ukrainian officials understand the seriousness of the situation.
“Organised Ukrainian defence continues in the area. The tactical Russian advance to the south of the town has likely made little progress,” the British Military Intelligence assessed in a recent update on the conflict.
Organized Ukrainian defenses continue to hold the town.
But if the Russian pressure continues and the Ukrainian positions look like they might get overwhelmed, it is highly likely that Kyiv will pull back to fight another day.
After all, Bakhmut serves no strategic purpose by itself, and the Ukrainian forces can defend better if they pull back further to the west.
But there is heavy fighting elsewhere on the battlefield.
In the east, the Russian and Ukrainian forces have been entangled in a bloody fight along the Kreminna-Svatove line.
For the better part of five months, the two sides have been attacking and counterattacking, with the crucial logistical hub of Svatove as their prize.
“Russia likely aims to reverse some of the gains Ukrainian forces made over September-November 2022: there is a realistic possibility that their immediate goal is to advance west to the Zherberets River,” the British Military Intelligence stated.
But despite their continuous pressure, the Russian forces aren’t launching offensive operations large enough to achieve a significant breakthrough in the area.
“Overall, the current operational picture suggests that Russian forces are being given orders to advance in most sectors, but that they have not massed sufficient offensive combat power on any one axis to achieve a decisive effect,” the British Military Intelligence added.
Russian Casualties in Ukraine
The Russian military continues to suffer heavy casualties on the ground in Ukraine. The rate of Russian losses has slowed down over the past few days, but the Russian military is still losing more men than it can afford.
To sustain this rate of losses, the Kremlin will have to call another mobilization.
Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Thursday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 140,460 Russian troops (and wounded approximately twice to thrice that number).
Destroyed equipment includes: 298 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 287 attack and transport helicopters, 3,296 tanks, 2,306 artillery pieces, 6,517 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 466 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 18 boats and cutters, 5,167 vehicles and fuel tanks, 239 anti-aircraft batteries, 2,012 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 219 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 857 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.
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A 19FortyFive Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing 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.