Ukraine War Update: The Russian forces have been stuck in Bakhmut for months. Although a recent spree of progress brought the Russian military and private military company Wagner Group inside the town, the Ukrainian military managed to stabilize the situation and prevent the complete loss of Bakhmut.
However, despite concentrated assaults, the Russian forces have either failed to achieve a breakthrough or have advanced very small distances.
In all scenarios, they have suffered extremely heavy casualties.
The Push for Avdiivka
Over the past few days, the Russian forces have increased their assaults against the town of Avdiivka. The Russian military has been sending increasingly more men and resources into the area as its units on the ground are trying to encircle the town and cut off the Ukrainian garrison.
The Donbas continues to be the immediate primary objective for the Russian military. Russian President Vladimir Putin seeks to create a land bridge that would link occupied Crimea with mainland Russia. Capturing the Donbas would partially achieve that goal.
The Russian military has been spreading up its operations in the area. Russian military units, Wagner Group mercenary forces, and pro-Russian separatists have been pushing in numerous places along the Donbas contact line, including Pavlivka, Avdiivka, Donetsk City, and Vuhledar.
However, the Russian military has achieved only some marginal progress, while suffering extremely heavy losses, especially in tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, and armored personnel carriers.
New Units, Old Problems in Ukraine
In addition to replenishing existing units, the Russian military has created new formations to support the ongoing fighting in Ukraine.
In September, the Kremlin launched a partial mobilization that provided the Russian military with approximately 300,000 reservists. Half of that force went to frontline units to fill in gaps created by the fighting on the ground. The rest were sent to new units or formations recouping from the combat.
But these new units are suffering from old problems. After 13 months of unfruitful fighting, morale is low, while discipline issues are rampant.
The Russian military’s 10th Tank Regiment has been spearheading the Russian offensive around Avdiivka, and as a result, suffering the greatest casualties.
“Numerous open-source accounts suggested that 3rd Army Corps has been particularly dogged by problems with ill-discipline and poor morale. Despite a likely period of training in Belarus, the formation still appears to display limited combat effectiveness,” the British Military Intelligence assessed in its latest estimate of the war.
The 10th Tank Regiment is part of the Russian 3rd Army Corps, a new formation created in the summer specifically to support the campaign in Ukraine. The Russian military has used a combination of reservists and combat veterans to create new units, equipping them with older weapon systems, such as T-62 main battle tanks.
“[The] 10th Tank Regiment’s losses have likely largely been due to tactically flawed frontal assaults similar to those in other recent failed Russian armoured attacks, such as around the town of Vuhledar,” the British Military Intelligence added.
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.