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.
As a result, the Russian military leadership has been trying to find other opportunities to break through the Ukrainian defenses elsewhere along the contact line.
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.
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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.
March 28, 2023 at 7:10 pm
“…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..”.
News for you – Putin created the mentioned land bridge a year ago. Sorry!
March 28, 2023 at 8:06 pm
Russia realizes they are in a war of attrition. They believe they have the numbers to win such a war. So they keep making the same mistakes thinking eventually they will break through. But they actually can’t win a war of attrition. They have a single chance to win this war. That is for the war to outlast the west willingness to support Ukraine. As long as we support Ukraine, Ukraine will slowly beat Russia. If we stop supporting, then Ukraine will start to lose. If we let Russia win, they won’t stop with Ukraine. Russia has caught themselves in an existential crisis. They can’t go back without breaking up and they can’t win without sucking everyone in around them until we implode into WWIII. We have no choice but to ensure that Russia is completely defeated on the battlefield. But of course that isn’t really how it works. How the war will be won is like this. Russia calls up another mobilization, most of these troops die and the adults in Russia start to realize that Russia can’t win. That their sons are dying in Ukraine for no reason and if they don’t stop it, more of their children die. When they start refusing to allow their children to die, the Russian military shrivels up and then Ukraine starts making huge gains. This causes a feedback loop. And Russian military collapses. The government of Russia also collapses and probably certain regions break away from Moscow for not being able take care of their needs and not be strong enough to force them to do as Moscow wants.
March 28, 2023 at 9:36 pm
Considering how little value russians place on life the attrition shouldn’t be of concern. Actually, it is to the benefit of the world to see staggering piles of dead Russians.
March 28, 2023 at 9:55 pm
“They came at us the same old way, and we destroyed them the same old way.” paraphrasing the Duke of Wellington
March 29, 2023 at 1:19 am
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.
March 29, 2023 at 2:09 am
Put down the crack pipe!