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Bakhmut Hangs by a Thread: What Its Likely Loss Means for Ukraine

Ukraine War
Ukrainian service members fire with a self-propelled howitzer 2S1 Gvozdika, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in unknown location in Kharkiv region, Ukraine May 7, 2022. REUTERS/Serhii Nuzhnenko

Information continues to emerge today from multiple sources that Zelenky’s troops in Bakhmut destroyed the last few bridges providing resupply and escape routes for its troops. The long battle for Bakhmut appears to have effectively come to an end. Though it is impossible to say with any degree of certainty what the fall of the city will have on the outcome of the war, there are a few consequences likely.

Few of them are positive for Ukraine.

The Battle for Bakhmut: What Will Happen? 

As the fate of the city has been perilous since the fall of Soledar in mid-January, few analysts will be surprised if Russian forces capture Bakhmut. Predictably, however, many Western analysts have recently been claiming that Bakhmut’s fall isn’t particularly meaningful, as it was of “little strategic importance.”

Yet one might reasonably ask, if holding Bakhmut was that unimportant, why did Ukraine fight so tenaciously to retain its possession, sending a non-stop string of reinforcements there, even after it was clear the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) could no longer hold. On Wednesday, Ukrainian officials suggested they “might pull troops back” from Bakhmut. With the revelation on Friday that Ukrainian units had blown the last two bridges supplying troops in Bakhmut, the fate of control of the city has been effectively sealed.

The question now: what implications, if any, will the Russian capture of Bakhmut represent for the course of the war? In the near term, the loss of Bakhmut won’t make much difference. Only time will tell, but the longer term implications could be more serious for Ukraine.

The UAF has long understood Bakhmut would be nearly impossible to hold, and as far back as May 2022, began to prepare new lines of defense in the Slovyansk-Kramatorsk area. Based on the loss of Soledar in January and the number of troops Russia had committed to the capture of Bakhmut by early February, the Ukrainian leaders could have withdrawn its troops in an orderly fashion to man new positions in the Slovyansk-Kramatorsk line by early to mid-February.

Had they done so, the UAF could have saved countless thousands of lives and occupied well-designed and defensible positions approximately 40km to the west. Instead, it appears the Ukrainian command authorities pulled reserves from the north that were previously earmarked for offensive operations in the Svatovo-Kreminna direction and in the South from troops positioning to launch a spring offensive out of Zaporizhia to capture Melitopol.

Losses of the scale Ukraine has suffered in the past two months reinforcing the defense of Soledar and Bakhmut cannot be easily replaced and will put their offensives at greater risk owing to having fewer forces available. Unfortunately for Kyiv, fewer troops won’t be the only difficulty they face in their upcoming offensives.

In a December interview, the commander in chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Gen. Valeri Zaluzhny, said to have a chance to drive to Melitopol, his forces would need at least 300 new Western tanks, up to 700 armored personnel carriers, and 500 howitzers. Despite flourishing headlines last month from Western nations, the UAF has received pledges of barely one third of the tanks, and even fewer personnel carriers and howitzers. Worse, barely two battalion’s worth of modern armor is expected to be available to Zaluzhny’s forces by the end of the summer.

That means if there is to be a Ukrainian spring offensive to try and cut the Russian occupation in half by taking Melitopol, their commander will have to do so with fewer trained men than he had last December and only token numbers of the modern kit he claimed he needed. Last month Ukrainian intelligence claimed Russia had amassed a force of more than 300,000 troops in Ukraine, equipped with a jaw-dropping 1,800 tanks, almost 4,000 armored vehicles, and 2,700 artillery pieces.

Up to this point, only a small portion of that force has engaged along the roughly 1,000km front. Some analysts, such as Center for Naval Analysis’ Michael Kofman, question the capacity of the Russian forces’ ability to sustain offensive operations, despite their number. Yet as has been the case throughout Russian military history, they have shown an ability and willingness to sustain significant casualties to win tactical objectives.

In any case, Zaluzhny will face considerable risk if he attacks into a Russian force of that size, with fewer troops than he anticipated (owing to the losses in Bakhmut), and with far fewer modern Western tanks, personnel carriers, and artillery pieces than he said he needs. Russia, moreover, has for months been preparing defensive positions in depth throughout its side of the line of contact, and any Ukrainian attack would have to pierce a dug-in Russian army, which under any circumstances is a bloody and tough task.

What Happens Next? 

In the short term, Ukraine will complete its withdrawal from Bakhmut and strengthen its defensive lines in the Slovyansk/Kramatorsk area, and Russia will likely continue its slow grind in that direction. Russia will likely not, however, turn the capture of Bakhmut into a “breakthrough” that could see major gains. Longer term, however, the time lost and casualties suffered by Ukraine could pose a risk that their spring or summer offensives fail to push Russia back, which would ultimately make the cost of holding out too long in Bakhmut painfully high. Only time will tell how costly the loss of Bakhmut turns out to be.

Author Expertise and Experience

A 1945 Contributing Editor, Daniel L. Davis is a Senior Fellow for Defense Priorities and a former Lt. Col. in the U.S. Army who deployed into combat zones four times. He is the author of “The Eleventh Hour in 2020 America.” Follow him @DanielLDavis

Written By

Daniel L. Davis is a Senior Fellow for Defense Priorities and a former Lt. Col. in the U.S. Army who deployed into combat zones four times. He is the author of “The Eleventh Hour in 2020 America.” Follow him @DanielLDavis1.



  1. HAT451

    March 3, 2023 at 5:08 pm

    I think, that the Ukrainians put literally through everything including the kitchen sink into Bakhmut for strategically political reasons. Those reasons were to show the the those that support Ukraine that they can hold on to the city, for additional money, training, and arms for their military. I’m seeing now a PSYOP informational campaign coming out of Ukraine minimizing the importance of Bakhmut. What Ukraine was able to achieve was commitments for armament deliveries, announced at the various Ramstein meeting. Unfortunatlly those deliveries will not be massed and arrive some of which will be delayed into 2024.

    The first advance in the North was a wake up call for the Russian, where they significantly increased the size of their military in Ukraine. First off, that was the first time Ukraine massed it’s forces for an attack. Second, the tactics/operations used were NATO tactics/operations. The adjustment the Russians made was to build multiple lines of defense and defend in depth. When the similar tactics was by Ukraine was tried in the south, it had very limited success. Given that, but sides are continuing to improve their defenses constantly in war, I expect any similar attempt to be a disaster for Ukraine.

    The Russian withdraw from Kherson, was not a rout, as was reported by the western media and Ukraine, but an orderly withdraw of Russian forces to set up a economy of force defense along the Dnieper, using the river as combat force multiplier for the defense. The excess troops were primarily sent to Bakhamut and Soledar, and we are not seeing the results of that.

    The other question, is what about the 300k extra Russian troops. According to some Russian media, they perceive this conflict as a civil war which heated up in 2014. Others see this as a war against NATO, based on the amount of support Ukraine is getting from NATO member nations. In the second case, these forces may be a deterrent to NATO’s open involvement in the civil war.

  2. Brett Andersen

    March 3, 2023 at 5:12 pm

    I normally only read the comments to Daniel Davis’s articles because he’s been consistently wrong in just about every prediction he’s made. He has never believed that Ukraine could succeed to the degree that they have (requiring 3 miracles to recapture Kherson, for instance) and this article is more of the same doom-and-gloom.

    The Institute for the Study of War has a daily briefing that is quite good. They have repeatedly reiterated that defending Bakhmut (a well-fortified position that Russion forces repeatedly impaled themselves on) was worthwhile, as it allowed Ukrainian forces to attrit Russian forces at a favorable exchange. Daniel Davis consistently presumes that Ukrainian casualties are on par with Russian casualties, but there has been nothing to corroborate that position. It’s a well known axiom that it requires 3x as many forces to attack as to defend, so it is entirely plausible that Russian casualties have been 3x (or more) than those for Ukrainian defenders.

    Holding territory is worthwhile when it can be held at reasonable cost; but not at ALL cost. The Russian offensive that captured Lysychansk culminated after and helped lead to the counteroffensives that liberated Kharkiv and Kherson.

    Daniel Davis says that we can’t know what the future holds, but as an expert we would expect him to make an inference from what has happened in the past. The story of Bakhmut appears to be the story of Russian forces suffering staggeringly high casualties for little territorial and no strategic gain. While Ukranian forces could have fallen back there was no reason to do so without a fight – doing so they have significantly reduced Russian forces, paving the way for both increased security for their fall-back lines and the possibility of a future offensive against a spent force.

  3. Jai

    March 3, 2023 at 5:14 pm

    Ukrainian withdrawal from Bakhmut will simply mean that a difficult but successful operation, inflicting 7:1 losses on Russia, has drawn to a close, and the coming Ukrainian counteroffensives will be that much more effective.

  4. Harmen Breedeveld

    March 3, 2023 at 5:35 pm

    Mr Davis, you should know as well as anyone that many observers say Ukraine is using the fight in Bakhmut to weaken the Russian troops. The many stories about heavy Russian losses, combined with the unimaginative Russian tactics that we see, support this view.

    Fighting in a city seems indeed a good choice if one wants to make the Russian attackers pay a heavy price. It seems cities lend themselves well for determined and dug-in defenders to exact a heavy price from the attackers. Ukraine did a similar thing in Mariupol last year.

    Maybe we will learn in a few weeks to a few months that Bakhmut was part of a deliberate strategy by the Ukrainians to buy time to build their forces, while also mauling Russian units there.

    Again, I am not saying I am right. I am saying that this is what many others say, and it does fit with much of what we see and have seen. If I can see this and remark upon it, so could – and should – you.

    That you do not discuss this viewpoint suggests to me that you either you are not entirely honest with your readers and/ or with yourself, or simply not up to the task of providing a careful argument. With that, you let down all sides.

  5. gorgeousgeorge

    March 3, 2023 at 5:51 pm

    Where is Davis’ analysis of the Russia debacle at Vuhledar? In Davis’ mind, that defeat never happened, and only the Ukrainians have been suffering irreplaceable losses in Bakhmut. Davis has apparently never heard of Verdun.

  6. troll-feeder

    March 3, 2023 at 5:56 pm

    I’m over here struggling to understand why a senior fellow for defense priorities couldn’t imagine up a single reason why the ukranians would choose to keep on fighting in bakhmut when everyone and their dog knows that if putler really wants he has no moral dilemma sacrificing as many mobliks as needed to get it.

    Since the “experts” have come up empty, I’ve got a couple ideas…lets get that tail pinned back on Mr. Davis!

    1. Weaken the enemy. With a 1:7 (or more) casualty ratio and they keep sending meat waves, the answer is not to run but to reload. Ma-duece, engage. They are choosing to fight on terms that are favorable to themselves.

    2. Prepare the enemy and battlefield for counterattack. Once they are weakened and shaped, they will be ripe for the picking come harvest time.

    3. Buy time to assemble the cavalry. Tens of thousands of troops are being trained, thousands of pieces of lethal equipment are being delivered. People who care about ukraine and democracy in general need to get this done pronto. no delay. rapido! dale!

    4. Buy time for the weather to warm up. Bezdorizhzhya cometh, which will help the defenders and slow down the invaders. This spring the invaders stuck in the mud will be air mailed pysanky via javelin, stugna, and carl gustaf!

    Well there you have it folks. Four potentially good reasons why AFU has continued to slug it out in bakhmut. All that in just 20 minutes from your friendly troll-feeding military novice. you’re welcome!

  7. Gary Jacobs

    March 3, 2023 at 6:27 pm

    As usual Davis Cherry picks information to suit his faux narrative of defeat for Ukraine.

    Of course, Ukraine has been employing a rope-a-dope strategy in Bakhmut, killing as many Russians as they can before they pull back. This is the one area where the Russians have easy logistics to conduct such offensive operations. And the Ukrainians are making them pay for every centimeter.

    The idea that this strategy is sucking too many resources from future offensives in the south is Davis’ defeatist fantasy.

    As well, he seems to be only counting western tanks promised to Ukraine so far. As has been the case repeatedly, more can be expected in several waves.

    But even with what has been promised so far, the Leopard 2 is approaching 100, and the Leopard 1 is close to 150.

    Then there are the Soviet model tanks. Poland is soon to transfer 60 PT-91 Twardy tanks to Ukraine according to Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.

    Morocco became the first African country to send heavy weapons to Ukraine with its delivery of 20 renovated T-72B expected soon. The announcement was made in January.

    Last November the US and Netherlands announced they are splitting the cost of paying for the Czech Republic to improve 90 T-72 tanks for Ukraine.

    I’m no math wizard, but that’s already over 400 tanks for Ukraine. And I didnt even count the Abrams the US promised as they arent expected to arrive soon enough.

    An important compliment to the tanks has also been promised in the form of armored bridge laying machines. The Germans have promised close to 30, and the US just promised some as well, without announcing how many.

    The US has also promised a number of different long range systems from GLSDB at 150km to drones that have ranges from up to 440km. Some of the drone announcements include: Switchblade 600s, Jump 20s, CyberLux K8s, and Area-I ALTIUS-600s.

    As well, Ukraine’s homegrown GMLRS called Vilkha-M has a range of 110km (68 miles) and a 300mm, 485-pound warhead that can hit targets with great accuracy. It’s quite possible these are what have been exploding all around Mariupol lately.

    Bottom line: Davis’ defeatist schtick is as old, stale, and cherry picked as ever.

  8. Cheburator

    March 3, 2023 at 6:52 pm

    how mum’s experts amuse me, they won’t be able to find Ukraine on the map, but they talk about Ukrainian victories based on the lies of Ukrainian officials and command

    breaking news
    Ukrainian losses
    260,000 dead
    260,000 wounded
    90,000 missing (given the love of Ukraine to hide losses, this 90,000 can be considered dead)
    You will say this is the misinformation of Putin’s trolls.
    Well then, CNN is working as Putin’s troll, this is their news, and these figures coincide with sources in Israeli, Turkish and Hungarian intelligence. These sources also report that the Ukrainian woman overestimates Russia’s losses by 3-4 levels. So we get losses of 5 to 1, but not from Russia, but from Ukraine

  9. Gary Jacobs

    March 3, 2023 at 7:49 pm


    LoL, Israeli intelligence has not said anything of the sort related to Ukraine’s losses.

    Back here in the real world the total between BOTH Russia and Ukraine was estimated by Israel at 300,000…with at least 160,000 of those being Russian.

    And among Ukrainians, as I understand it those estimates include over 15,000 dead Ukrainian civilians the Russians have killed.

    So yes, you were in fact posting ‘the misinformation of Putin’s trolls’… which is not surprising because you are a Russian troll.

    But let’s just pretend for a moment you are close to correct. The difference is that Ukraine is fighting for the survival of their country, and the Russians are fighting an unprovoked imperialist invasion to steal well as murder and rape Ukrainians.

    The Ukrainians will tolerate a higher casualty count because they know what happens if they stop fighting.

    They have centuries of experience with Russian imperialists repeatedly attempting to do exactly what they are doing now.

    Perhaps it’s time you Russians stop being imperialists and let your neighbors be free of your bully BS.

  10. dave

    March 3, 2023 at 8:51 pm

    Cheburator same numbers 257,000 Colonel MacGregor said on KIA after Ukrainian General met with our chief of staff. Bahhmut was a Ukrainian disaster. The Ukrainians were the ones constantly bringing in new units, not the Russians. Ukraine is still grabbing guys right off the street to be sent to the front.

  11. Neil Ross

    March 3, 2023 at 9:10 pm

    I pretty much tune out when people start regurgitating casualty numbers, troop strength, the relevance of past battles to the situation in Bakhmut or the future direction of this conflict.

    I am surprised that neither Davis or any of the commenters so far have not addressed the fate of the Ukranian forces still in Bakhmut, assuming they are. Media reports from both sides seem to imply that Russian artillery has all the withdrawal routes covered and that the spring thaw has made offroad travel difficult.

    As to the military value of Bahkmut I have read many opinions. That Bakhmut allowed Ukraine to target Russian rail lines used to resupply troops. That the salt mines provide a secure forward storage area for arms and munitions. That Bahkmut and/or elevated locations to the north will allow Russia to target Kramatorsk (doesn’t look like it to me). Who knows for sure which if any are true, but one thing Davis said will holds true, “time will tell” how this conflict ends.

  12. Neil Ross

    March 3, 2023 at 9:56 pm

    And on a somewhat related point, how totally screwed up and without value is western media when a murder case involving a South Carolina lawyer (that few have heard of) gets priority coverage over a conflict where hundreds, if not thousands, of people are dying each week?

  13. Walker

    March 3, 2023 at 10:20 pm

    By far not the worst article Davis has written. It is a little on the pessimistic side but far less so than previous articles.

    But one thing he doesn’t answer is why Ukraine might have thought it worth it to hold Bakhmut as long as possible.

    If they pulled troops from other locations and used more than they hoped, that is a disappointment for Ukraine. But if Russia was bleeding troops there at a larger than 3 to 1 it might have been a good way to keep Russian Winter offensive occupied while Ukraine prepares for their spring offensive. If they used so much they can’t have an effective offensive, that will be very disappointing. But we will see.

    Interestingly I didn’t realize this was a Davis article until the very bottom when I realized his point to the article which is that he is trying to say that holding Bakhmut made it impossible to do their Spring offensive. I think it is too early to tell. But happy to see this come from Davis because he is always more wrong than right.

    But we will see if he can finally call something. I doubt it. I guess instead it will be a difference of how successful Ukraine spring offensive will be not whether it will be successful or not. In other words, If Ukraine sees any successes, Davis is wrong. Not a good position for him to be in. Just goes to show how terrible he is as a military analyst.

  14. Jim

    March 3, 2023 at 11:53 pm

    Ukraine has lost Bakhmut.

    Say what you will, Ukraine fed men & material into the fight…

    What does it mean?

    Depends on Russia.

    Russia solidly holds the initiative.

    I’ll believe a Ukrainian offensive when I see it… and see it be effective.

    Been a long time since Ukraine’s army did anything effective.

    Russia wants to contain the battlefield… but they also, at some point, want an action which is an unambiguous victory… larger and more significant than Bakhmut.

    There is pressure to win before Kiev receives significant amounts of weapons… promised by the West.

    But the worry for Kiev and military commanders is that the army is akin to a frog in warm water, slowly turned up to a boil… the frog never gets out… doesn’t know it until too late.

    In this case, the Ukrainian army collapses as an effective fighting force by way of attrition before the high command knows it… orders are sent out, but aren’t able to be executed in the field… (remember that scene with Hitler screaming in the bunker)…

    Should this happen, the End of the War is @ hand.

    Humpty Dumpty had a great fall

    All the king’s horses & all the king’s men won’t be able to put it back together again.

    A collapsed army can’t be reconstituted.

    And, if the army can effectively collapse without high command knowing… then the ruling clique in Kiev could also be taken unawares … like the frog… and have a popular revolution overwhelm them… the fear is real.

    Such are the costs of a collapsed army.

    Remember Bakhmut… to whom will it resonate & mean more?

  15. GhostTomahawk

    March 4, 2023 at 12:14 am

    Sounds like Ukraine is watching too much western media.

    Ukraine is losing this war no matter what. Their people have left. Their young military aged men are dead. The Poles and mercs are fighting for them now. They can only get so much western equipment… that doesn’t get sold on the black market. Eventually they’ll run out of people and Russia will not.

    Zelensky is not Churchill. He’s an actor who is out of his league.

  16. Webej

    March 4, 2023 at 1:06 am

    All the strategy come from the US handlers. Ukraine has to keep them in its good graces, else the war will end tomorrow. For the West, this is mainly a PR war, which requires Ukrainian offensives and certainly not losses to keep the story going. Even if it goes on until the last Ukrainian soldier.

    The calculation is very simple. 85% of the casualties come from shells. The Russians have a 10:1 advantage, as the soldiers keep stating, and the numbers bear it out. That means Ukraine is losing by 10:1, so keeping this thing going is insane, and it was always insane. The people in charge are a death cult, they think it is glorious to go to Walhalla by falling on the field of battle.

    We even have a humanitarian such as Prigozhin appealing to Z to for God’s mercy save his people, flanked by a 72 year old and two teen-age POWs.

    Literally every bit of evidence, videos, social media, front line testimony, videos of cemeteries, etc., reinforces that Ukraine is having catastrophic human losses. The BBC & Medusa came up with 14,000 Russian dead on the basis of obituaries throughout Russia. Even if we double this, it is 10:1 against Ukraine … which is resorting to massive kidnapping of recruits from the streets, old & young alike.

  17. Enfield

    March 4, 2023 at 5:26 am

    Reality is starting to catch up the leaders of the free world. To use a poor people to achieve their own political successes is shameful. These poor are to be sacrificed so that the free world can continue to enjoy freedom. Somehow the elite and the main leader of that already lost country have been able to grab themselves enormous wealth that is well hidden in various finance institutes around the world, but it’s taboo as well. No one in the West cares anymore about the poor people of that lost country. The world hears big words daily basis how the free world with poor as tools will win a conventional war against the Red giant. Good luck with that.

  18. Steven Naslund

    March 4, 2023 at 6:49 am

    Colonel, that is some horrible analysis there. Russian casualties have by all accounts been much greater than the Ukraine in this battle. If your enemy want to expend his blood and treasure for a fairly insignificant target why wouldnt you accommodate them.

    Another theory that comes to my mind is that the Ukraine may be readying a counter offensive elsewhere and this action is keeping a lot of Russia’s best forces occupied and in a known position. Meaning they are right where the Ukraine wants them.

    The Ukraine holding this town for this long is nothing like a defeat for the Ukraine. Remember Russia is supposed to be a superpower level military. Can you imagine the reaction if US force took this long to take a town from Ukrainian forces? It would be an unmitigated disaster and heads would be rolling. The reaction within Russia is going to be more like “what took you so long? Anything less than a total collapse is a victory for the Ukraine and a defeat for Russia. The longer this war continues the more Russia is weakened and their prestige dies. Do you see a lot of countries buying the latest in Russian military exports after this? Every day the Ukrainians are receiving more advanced systems and Russia has to deploy more mothballed Soviet gear. I know a lot of analysts are having big trouble understanding how the Ukraine did not collapse in a week or two as predicted and I know its horrible for our defense industrial complex to have to admit that other than its nuclear capabilities, Russia is no longer a military threat to the US. The myth of the big bad Russians has continued since the so called “missile gap” that never existed because it allowed the US military to continue holding them up as a real threat when we should have focused on China a long time ago. The US should have been enhancing its naval and air forces and not spending as much on heavy armor and land systems due to this distraction and miscalculation. Yes, I know Russia is a nuclear threat but so are we and if they want to go into a war knowing their only option is the nuclear MAD equation i suspect Putin’s regime will fall. Russian generals support Putin only while he is more dangerous to disobey than to follow. I think he would be hard pressed to find leaders supportive of a nuclear attack on anyone.

  19. TotallyNotBiased

    March 4, 2023 at 6:57 am

    well, rusbots in comment section have been claiming bakhmut was about to be captured by russians since late-july 🙂

  20. TheDon

    March 4, 2023 at 7:22 am

    Fact is, all 43 million Ukrainians will keep inflicting losses, as will Russia. Ratios are irrelevant to Ukrainians, but not Russians.
    When its over at currnt rate 300,000 or more dead Russians and just assume equal Ukrainians.
    Russia inherits a country to rebuild requiring constant policing and rebuilding further spreading russian forces.
    Russias dismal performance has weakened their position as viewed around the world. Countries are stopping orders for military equipment and shopping for better equipment. Bet you new xi comrad will step in.
    But dont worry
    You have fuel to sell, like Venezuela.
    This war will decimate your economy and country.

  21. Yrral

    March 4, 2023 at 8:11 am

    Jacob,an American fool and his US aid soon parted

  22. David Chang

    March 4, 2023 at 8:35 am

    God bless people in the world.

    Bakhmut is an important city. This city forms a triangle with Lugansk and Donetsk and support each other to hold the Lugansk-Donetsk defense. However, the task of these three cities is to help Russia defend M-4 (Russia) or E115 (EUROPE), so Russia will move more supplies to the southern region by M-4. They will be able to rebuild repair factories of vehicles and vessels.

    God bless America.

  23. David Chang

    March 4, 2023 at 8:56 am

    God bless people in the world.

    People of Democratic party say,

    “Look! Putin sacrificed 100 thousands of people to fight this war.”

    But we know that Communist Party, the ally of Democratic Party, murdered more than a million people in the world, and the thought of Communist Party is the same as Democratic Party. They think that people are rational animals and are species with several utility value, and shall be sacrificed for Democratic Party and Communist Party.

    So brothers and sisters, stop voting for social-democratic Party please, they are just another communist party. But God created whole world and love people in the world, so we are living in the grace of God.

    God bless America.

  24. Gary Jacobs

    March 4, 2023 at 9:52 am


    LoL, as usual your take is largely the complete opposite of reality. The one detail you got right is that Yes, Ukraine should pull out of Bakhmut at some point. The Russian military has focused most of its offensive energy at this one little town, which they have spent 7 months trying to take. A supposed super power has had that much trouble taking a little tiny town.

    Meanwhile, down in Vuhledar and the rest of the south, it is in fact the Russian military on the brink of collapse. They have lost 130 armored vehicles in a very short period of time in their latest failed attempt to take that one small area at Vuhledar. This being the third major attempt. The other two did not go much better.

    Now the Russians are pulling troops from the Kreminna area to send to Vuhledar because the 155th Naval Infantry has been combat destroyed for the 2nd time. It was reconstituted with Mobiks who were not prepared for offensive combat. In fact the Russians have lost so many men in their failed offensive across the south, along with the massive losses at Soledar and Bakhmut, that unless Putin calls for another round of mobilization their lines will be plenty soft for the Ukrainian units trained in western combined arms tactics with the 400 tanks + 300 IFVs + 300 APCs and longer range precision fires about to arrive to have a strong probability of smashing through the Russian defenses when the summer dries the mud.

    A marine I know sent me a helpful video to show what the Ukrainians are learning from the US at the training ground in Germany right now. The video on on Youtube is called ‘Combined Arms Breach’.

    It’s a visualization developed for the Maneuver Center of Excellence and is closely based on the National Training Center Breach and Assault exercise. The video is hosted by OEC G&V, a US Army TRADOC G2 organization that transforms actual combat events into unclassified 3d visualizations.

    If you actually bother to educate yourself with this video, and compare that with the equipment announcements of what has been promised to Ukraine recently…you will notice that it covers basically everything in that video from tanks and IFVs to bridgelayers, and a massive amount of line charges for clearing minefields. The 30+ bridge layers alone indicate that Ukraine will be very well prepared with a large force to distribute along that front to retake the south.

    Back to Bakhmut for a moment, a helpful analogy is the Avostol Steel Plant. The stand that those Ukrainian troops made pinning down Russian forces in Mariupol allowed time for the Ukrainians to organize a better defense for other cities. This time Bakhmut is allowing the Ukrainians more time to organize their offensive forces, and for the mud to dry…so they can retake more of their country….and to start that offensive at the time and places of their choosing.

    Furthermore, the offense/defense ratios in Bakhmut are roughly to 7-1 as it has been explained to me. That is it is taking 7 Russians on offense to assault for every one Ukrainian defender. It is basic military math to know that it requires more offensive power to assault a location with well prepared defenses. It’s one reason why Bakhmut has held for so long with not very many Ukrainian troops there at any given time.

    Only time will tell if the western countries get enough of the promised equipment and training to the Ukrainians before the summer dries the mud.

    Right now that all appears on track… and should that scenario play out anything close to as predicted, Bakhmut will be a textbook definition of a pyrrhic victory for Russia.

    Have a liberating day.

  25. ATM

    March 4, 2023 at 10:42 am

    There seems to be no association between body bag count a results.
    According to official “fake or not fake” body bag count the UNITED STATES, EU, NAZI and all Westerners defeated all of their enemies in the last 100 years.

  26. Jim

    March 4, 2023 at 10:57 am

    Gary, your problem is with reality… not me.

    You see (or maybe you don’t), you’re also like a frog in warming water… you don’t want to realize or acknowledge the current precarious state on the battlefield.

    You’re unconscious of the danger… your arrogance blinds you… that’s a dangerous mental state to be in… on the battlefield where you are losing… or sitting before a computer screen.

    Can I say for sure the frog is getting warmer… yes… will it jump out of the warming water… in time… it could.

    But that would take facing up to the mirror which gives an ugly reflection… remember the Wicked Witch in Snow White… her mirror showed the truth… even wicked witches have to bow to reality…

    But to the issue @ hand… (Bakhmut is now a grease spot in the rear view mirror) the larger and more significant victory is the entire Donbas.

    And, Bakhmut sets up the larger Donbas Campaign… that was the point… why Ukraine fed men & material into a hell-hole… and why Russia banged so hard and so long to take Bakhmut… the key to the lock… of the entire region.

    The Road to Victory is open for Russia.

    If they’re able to grab it.

  27. Gary Jacobs

    March 4, 2023 at 11:18 am


    Thought of you as I watched the footage of Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov getting straight laughed at in India today.

    Lavrov claimed that the Ukraine war was launched against Russia and that Russia is now trying to stop it.

    The audience’s instinctive response was to burst out in laughter after hearing such a ridiculous statement.

    Kind of like how I react so often when I see your posts, and your complete inversion of reality.

    You have been so concerned with Russia winning the hearts and minds of the ‘global south’, including India. Well, Not so much.

    Plenty of video available showing this incident.

    Have a liberating day.

  28. David Chang

    March 4, 2023 at 11:29 am

    God bless people in the world.

    “Had they done so, the UAF could have saved countless thousands of lives and occupied well-designed and defensible positions approximately 40km to the west. Instead, it appears the Ukrainian command authorities pulled reserves from the north that were previously earmarked for offensive operations in the Svatovo-Kreminna direction and in the South from troops positioning to launch a spring offensive out of Zaporizhia to capture Melitopol.”

    That is right.

    When Russia decides to fight in cities and Ukraine also do it so, it is the Ukraine President’s political decision, not a military decision.

    This political problem is like whether U.S. Navy should fight with CCP in the Taiwan Strait.

    God bless USMC and USN,
    God bless America.

  29. Partner

    March 4, 2023 at 12:53 pm

    Cheburator! What you wrote, give it to your mother to read. When she catches you in a lie, she will beat you with her unwashed panties. And you will be ashamed.

  30. Gary Jacobs

    March 4, 2023 at 3:20 pm

    As if the universe knew it was time to make another announcement proving Daniel Davis wrong [and me right] again… the British just announced that they are sending another 14 Challenger-2 tanks for a total of 28. I didnt even include the first 14 in my original post.

    Then comes word that Germany’s Rheinmetall is trying to buy back Switzerland’s Leopard 1 and Leopard 2s that are in mothballs to refurbish them. Those would allow Germany to backfill more tanks sent to Ukraine, which could add up to another 150+ tanks. Clearly it depends on the condition that they are in while mothballed.

    Expect more of these announcements to come in as other countries increase their commitments to Ukraine as they prepare for a late spring/summer offensive.

    It would be nice to see everyone, including the US speed up those deliveries so the amount of tanks approaches 500 delivered by summer. With another 150+ being prepared for delivery to make up for any losses or need for repairs.

  31. David Chang

    March 4, 2023 at 4:08 pm

    God bless people in the world.

    people in America shall not be responsible for people in Ukraine, because most people in Ukraine do not obey Ten Commandments, but believe socialism and evolution. They vote for Zelenskyy. Zelenskyy’s policies are like Biden’s, which is to encourage abortion and prohibit people from owning guns.

    They encourage abortion, which is like the murderous behavior in Ukraine war. Democratic Party encourage abortion for survival, and Putin attacks Ukraine for Russia’s survival. The wrong of most Ukraine people is that they oppose Russia Communist Party by atheism. They think that they are Ukrainians, and they do not believe that they and people in Russian are children of God, and don’t ask people in Russia to obey Ten Commandments.

    People don’t confess and repent to God, so people will destroy life and country.

    God bless America.

  32. Gary Jacobs

    March 4, 2023 at 5:46 pm


    LoL, As usual your inversion of reality is priceless.

    You might have had a point about the battle in the east if Ukraine hadnt already liberated Lyman and Izyum. Those liberations make Bakhmut have near zero strategic value for Russia.

    According to retired Australian General Mick Ryan “The reality is that if the Russia captures Bakhmut, they are seizing rubble. It is a town with little strategic importance & no infrastructure to support a force. That the Russians have invested so much in its capture speaks volumes about their poor strategy in this war.”

    While Ukraine may lose a town, the Russians have lost much more over the course of the battle. They have wasted military units, soldiers and resources that would have been valuable to them once the Ukrainians launch their offensives later in the Spring.

    It has bloodied the Russians (Army and Wagner) in a way that they have not experienced since WW2. By some reports, their campaign for Bakhmut alone has resulted in over 10,000 Russian casualties.

    The extra irony is that the battle for Bakhmut and the area around it has also been the source of an open, vicious campaign of smears between the Russian Army and the Wagner Group.

    And to drive the point home, This quote from Australian Army doctrine is useful: “Withdrawal is a task employed regularly during mobile defence or the delay to accomplish the overall aim of resuming offensive action…it should be treated as a routine tactic rather than a harbinger of disaster.”

    For the Ukrainians, they will be withdrawing into defensive zones around Kramatorsk that they have had eight years to prepare. Eight. Years.

    And it is on higher more defensible ground than Bakhmut.

    Like I said, Bakhmut is likely to be the textbook definition of pyrrhic victory for Russia.

    Of course, it will take roughly 5 months to find out if the Ukrainians have done enough to prepare for their next offensive, and if the allied powers deliver the armor Ukraine needs to make that offensive a success.

  33. Dan Farrand

    March 4, 2023 at 6:38 pm

    Nobody knows what Russias next move will be.

    Probably pressure increasing pressure all along the front to keep Ukraine from being able to accumulate reserves. As weaknesses are found, Russian reserves will be sent to exploit.

    The main preoccupation for Russia now appears to be to complete the reorganization of their forces into regiments/divisions/corp using the influx of mobilized manpower.

    Once those larger formations are ready, they will be used. Russians may have different ideas, but ultimately I think they need to take Odessa.

    Many commenters here seem fixated on the hope that Russian casualties have been larger than Ukraines. There is no evidence for that.

    The bulk of the heavy infantry fighting has fallen on Wagner and a few elite Russian Army units. Well equipped, well trained, experienced and backed up by 5-7 to 1 superiority in artillery. There seems little doubt that Wagner claims of 6 or 7 to 1 ratio in favor of Wagner/Russia is reasonable.

    There are also comments suggesting that 43 million Ukrainians will fight on.

    The Population of Ukraine has not been 43 millions for decades. At the start of the war, the population was perhaps 32 million. Since the start of the war, perhaps 7 million have left Ukraine for Europe or Russia.

    Of the remaining 25 million, at least 5 million are thankfully living in Oblasts that have been incorporated into the Russian Federation.

    Of the remaining 20 million “Ukrainians” some significant percentage are ethnic Russians who want nothing to do with Ukraine.

    One of the more interesting pieces of news out of Bakhmut is that in the last few weeks increasing numbers of dead AFU soldiers have been from Western Ukraine.

    Ukraine is now expending the manpower of their core loyalists – the very people they hoped to husband as the reserve for the imagined spring offensive.

    The reality of losses can no longer be hidden from Ukraines core ethnic Ukrainians in the western, urban part of the country.

  34. Johnny Ray

    March 4, 2023 at 7:46 pm

    I am wondering whether Ukraine OR Russia will be able to launch a significant offensive in the “spring”.

    There seems to be a theme developing that Ukraine is running out of troops to fight, while the Russians are running out of weapons and ammo.

    It’s clear to me, Ukraine’s route to regaining territory is via MASSIVE guided munitions, drone targeting and superior intelligence. I don’t see that bulking up at the moment.

    Honestly, tank warfare seems to be a diversionary discussion anymore.

    I suppose it’s possible the oft repeated story that Russia is running out of ammo is just that, and the warehouses still have plenty of artillery rounds, tanks, guns, ammo and armor.

    My money is on tit for tat stalemate for the rest of the year. And, neither side will quit regardless of lack of men or arms to fight.

  35. A.L.

    March 4, 2023 at 8:33 pm

    Caution: The author of this article is a well known pro-Putin propagandist.

  36. Stefan Zweig

    March 5, 2023 at 12:26 am

    Looking at the MSM propaganda brainwashed contributors and the string of magical ukrainian battlefield achievments reported to us 24/7, one might feel emboldened to give a helping hand to poor russians – after all, all that is matter to keep feeding the warmachine. Remember, russians are going out of missiles, ammunition, equipment and soldiers every 2-3 weeks since last March (at least according to the Brits). Someone finally should tell them as well, to start behaving accordingly.

  37. Ramon

    March 5, 2023 at 1:14 am

    You wrote:

    “For the Ukrainians, they will be withdrawing into defensive zones around Kramatorsk that they have had eight years to prepare. Eight. Years.

    And it is on higher more defensible ground than Bakhmut.”

    So why did it make sense to defend Bachmut at all? If attrition was of better use around Kramatorsk, then I’d suppose that Ukraine wasted costly time defending a less defensible place like Bachmut.

  38. dave

    March 5, 2023 at 1:35 am

    CNN said Ukraine`s military has suffered over 600,000 casualties. Like I said many times. This war was over on day 1! CNN sucks, but it`s matching up with anybody with credibilities numbers.

  39. Kelvin Clarke

    March 5, 2023 at 3:12 am

    It was said that Sivierodonetsk and Lysychansk were the anvil upon which Ukraine destroyed the Russian Army.
    Consequently, Bakhmut was the anvil upon which Ukraine destroyed the conscript Russian Army.
    Russian propagandists like Daniel Davis may choose to believe that the casualty rates have been mirrored…that Ukraine is bleeding…
    Realistically, all I see is Russian and Wagner forces that are nearing exhaustion after incredibly successful Ukrainian defensive tactics.
    Not only has Russia lost vast numbers of soldiers of all levels of expertise, but the Russian losses of tanks, personnel carriers and artillery is enough to paralyse their forces.
    Daniel Davis and his Russian friends on this site should think deeply about events on the road to Vuhledar recently.

  40. Dan wesson

    March 5, 2023 at 9:00 am

    So in 1989, we assured Russia NATO would not expand past Germany, yet today we are on their border. What would america do if Russia had missiles in Canada that could shoot down our nukes? Air bases in Mexico? And treaties with both that stayed an attack on Canada or Mexico is an attack on Russia?

    Sadly, the American population is debased, uneducated and uninformed. And our so called leaders are intent on imperial expansion in a desperate effort to prop up a dying empire. This is a very dangerous time. A change in world order and an end of an era. Going from America as unipolar superpower to multipolarity. And transitioning from the Information Age to the age of ai/automation/ etc.

    Usually at times like this there are world wars. Today, we find ourselves in a hybrid war, with China unleashing COVID and winning the trade war against trump. The US leading a proxy war against Russia in Ukraine. And planning to surround China with pressure the same way we did with Russia. Except China is not Russia and it may go kinetic.

  41. Dan wesson

    March 5, 2023 at 9:03 am

    Stop sending hundred of billions to corrupt Eastern European dictators while Americans struggle to meet their basic needs!

    Thanks to government overspending, prices have risen and a burger at Mickey do’s is $11.

    Down with the woke fascist imperialistic junta in Washington DC. Make America great again! #Trump24

  42. Dan wesson

    March 5, 2023 at 9:04 am

    Michelle Obama is a biological man. Full stop.

  43. Gary Jacobs

    March 5, 2023 at 9:18 am


    The Ukrainians are making the Russians pay dearly for ever centimeter in that area.

    With the Russians using scorched earth tactics to turn cities like Bakhmut into rubble, the Ukrainians defending that area buys time for other places to not become rubble.

    As well, Bakhmut and Soledar were the higher ground fall back positions from Lysychansk and Sievierodonetsk. At each station the Ukrainians are making the Russians pay dearly and tying up massive amounts of forces, enabling the Ukrainians to conduct counter offensives and/or defend other places.

    The more time the Ukrainians can buy for the close to 1000 units of new armored vehicles to arrive, as well as the combined arms + breach training to be completed… the less area needs to be liberated from the Russians and the less are turned to rubble when the Ukrainians do have the elements in place for their next counter attack.

    It’s pretty simple logic.

  44. Ramon

    March 5, 2023 at 10:39 am

    Gary, thanks for your logical explanation. I’m just hoping that the spring offensive will not cost Ukraine dearly, or will push them too far, creating an encirclement in the south. They will really be keen on coordinating this attack well. Thank you for your optimism.

    Have a liberating day,

    Ramon (a Dutch guy living in Moscow)

  45. Gary Jacobs

    March 5, 2023 at 11:15 am

    Jim, Dan Farrand, Daniel Davis,…

    FYI: There are places we can go for a clue about what’s happening with combat losses.

    For example, Oryx publishes only verified numbers concerning equipment losses, and from those it’s possible to determine something about the nature of losses in Ukraine.

    TANKS 1790 470 3.8

    These figures are more indicative of “front line losses” involving vehicles carrying servicemembers than others such as towed artillery, SPGs, etc. (Why the huge difference between IFVs and APCs? Because Russia has a lot of BMP-3s and treats them like all purpose transports … it also loses a lot of BMP-3s.)

    The overall ratio that this gives is about 3.4:1. If this accurately reflects the relative rate of troop losses throughout the invasion, then it suggests that, if Russia has lost 152,000 soldiers [the latest estimate from the Ukrainian military] then Ukraine has lost about 57,000.

    If Russia has actually seen only around 50,000 losses (a number recently cited by U.K. military intelligence), then Ukraine might be expected to have suffered around 17,000 lost. There are reasons to doubt this estimate, but we can save that for later.

    The reality is that Russians also have smartphones and Russian Telegram has plenty of images showing the destruction of Ukrainian equipment and captured or abandoned vehicles. Oryx gets all that.

    Overall, throughout the war, a three to one ratio of men and material lost figures to be about right. That’s three lost Russians for every lost Ukrainian.

    However, there are certainly exceptions. No one could watch the multiple fruitless attempts to take the town of Vuhledar, leaving at least 130 tanks and other armored vehicles scattered across fields, without seeing a ratio that’s almost incalculably higher with far more lost Russians.

    So far Vuhledar has been a shooting gallery for Ukrainian artillery, anti tank weapons, and snipers. Put a number on it as high as you like, and it’s probably still not high enough.

    But far more importantly there are estimates from the troops and unit commanders who have been fighting for months at Bakhmut. For many of those months, Russia prosecuted action in the area by sending out “zerg” attacks. Those are human waves in which infantry units played the role of sensors, advancing until they were taken down, then replaced by another infantry unit that advanced until it was eliminated, rinse, repeat, many times daily.

    Some have declared that the ratio there is close to 10:1, but there’s another number that has come up repeatedly.

    According to a commander of Ukrainian forces long stationed at Bakhmut, and reported in Ukrinform, the ratio of Russian losses to Ukrainian losses at Bakhmut is around 7 to 1.

    That number shouldn’t be surprising. The long held general rule for a successful military advance is for the offensive side to hold a 3:1 advantage at the point of conflict. Go far above that, and it can help turn the operation into a rout. Fall much below it, and the advance is likely to fail.

    Superior equipment and training can certainly alter this number significantly, as can the tactical advantages of terrain. Huge forces of untrained local citizens trying to retake their land have been reliably defeated by relatively tiny numbers of well-trained and better equipped forces holding a reinforced position (see just about any slaughter from the centuries of British colonialism that clog most lists of “greatest military victories”).

    Until the fall of Soledar, Bakhmut was a situation where very badly trained, poorly equipped prison troops “recruited” by Wagner Group were being thrown at Ukrainian defenders who had established positions in hardened buildings.

    To win a battle like that, Russia needed to be able to field a huge numerical advantage, but it’s logistical and command structure didn’t support delivering such numbers. So they failed. A lot. For months on end.

    What was the secret sauce that allowed Russia to finally crack Soledar and then other areas around Bakhmut? More. It just brought more. More regular army troops in addition to the Wagnerites. More of the “mobiks,” many of whom have now had something that actually looks like training. More equipment. More artillery. More drones. More air strikes.

    It’s a situation of more in that area because they had an easy logistics tail they dont have in other places. And Ukraine kept fighting there so they could kill more Russians. Which buys time for other areas to not be flattened by Russia’s scorched earth tactics. And buys time for more Ukrainian equipment to arrive, and the mud to dry…so they can counter attack at the times and places of their choosing while facing a depleted Russian military.


    March 5, 2023 at 3:54 pm

    It’s amazing when I read the comments. Especially when some comments auction themselves that the losses are at least 3 x as high as those of Ukraine. Public official figures already spoke of at least 100000 dead on the Ukrainian side, others even talk about 150,000. Again and again it is said that Ukraine has defeated and pushed back the Russians from Kiev and most recently from Kherson under heroic struggle – nothing is more absurd. Obviously, many express themselves without ever having enjoyed a basic military training to let basic knowledge flow into their considerations. Sometimes reading of military leaders can help, at this point I refer to the former chief of Foreign Armies East of the German Wehrmacht R.Gehlen, the later founder of the organization Gehlen /BND. He already made clear statements in his book about the actions of the Russian army, which can be observed again today. Apart from that, many people do not seem to understand why the Russian army is so “slow” and confuse it with weakness – nothing is further from reality. Of course, the Russian army could proceed just like the US army in its many wars, air force pure area bombardments and when everything is flattened they send soldiers to see what is left and then sell that as a big fight, just like in WW2. Ukraine alone cannot win this fight and if the USA/NATO goes in we will have WW3. After that, WW4 will probably be fought only with clubs.

  47. David Chang

    March 5, 2023 at 7:44 pm

    God bless people in the world.

    Gary Jacobs and Kelvin Clarke are wrong.

    The wrong is about the Democrats’ victory on a single battlefield statistics. However, the correct judgment should be on the Global Defense Initiative or the Unified Command Plan.

    Moreover, one-China, socialism Russia, socialism Iran, and socialism Korea are cooperating to make socialism warfare for socialism international. So the Democratic Party ask other countries not to help Russia , that is not honest to people in the world.

    Furthermore, Russia’s strategy is to attack the Ukraine people with cheap weapons, while the U.S. and U.K. and France counter Russia with expensive ammunition. Instead of making serious efforts to increase the production of ammunition and weapons in NATO, the socialism parties within NATO take the opportunity to implement socialism and atheism in their own E.U..

    Therefore, the socialism warfare in Russia and Ukraine consume U.S. dollars, weapons and ammunition reserves quickly. If we want to stop this socialism warfare, all countries in the world should end socialism policies and increase the defense budget.

    Also, Democratic party should stop promoting socialism in the Arab countries, so we could keep energy reserves.

    Even though the Democratic party are cooperating with Russia socialism party in making this socialism warfare. But we should fight socialism and prepare to counter nuclear strike of Russia with nuclear weapons, if Zelenskyy want to make nuclear war.

    God bless Europe,
    God bless America.

  48. Walker

    March 5, 2023 at 9:52 pm

    Dave: “CNN says Ukraine lost 600,000.” Lol, I looked and I didn’t find anything like that. You can’t just make crap up unless you are RT.

    This is worse than that supposed article from a Turkish newspaper that supposedly someone in Mossad had supposedly told them that supposedly Russia was winning the war of attrition by having only lost 10,000 dead Russians while Ukraine had 150,000 dead. Lol, it was so preposterous that is was hilarious to see you guys pick that dingleberry like it was a diamond.

  49. TheDon

    March 5, 2023 at 10:26 pm

    Just hard to believe that many deaths in 4×4 mile rural town.

    Hope we’re not funding a big scam.

  50. from Russia with love

    March 6, 2023 at 2:28 am

    @naive Gary Jacobs
    like a parrot, you regularly repeat Ukrainian disinformation about Russian losses. maybe you can finally explain why Ukraine is begging for tanks and infantry fighting vehicles from everyone, but not Russia? explain why Ukraine, which at the beginning of the conflict had more than 3,000 tanks (only tanks) and an even larger number of infantry fighting vehicles, and also, according to your statements, Ukraine captured about 500 Russian tanks and besides that, about 500 tanks have already been supplied by NATO countries (mostly Poland), that is, there are already about 4000 tanks, but they still beg NATO for more tanks. so where are these 4000 tanks? why does Russia, which allegedly suffers much greater losses, not ask for tanks from anyone?
    you write that the losses in Artemovsk (soon not Bakhmut anymore. get used to the historical name ;)) 7/1 in favor of Ukraine, but then explain why Ukrainian cemeteries are overcrowded, but not Russian ones? why is constant forced mobilization going on in Ukraine, but not in Russia? why in Ukraine is it closed to citizens of military age (18-60 years) to leave the country, but in Russia there are no restrictions?
    your problem is that you lie all the time and your lies are exposed very easily. 😉

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