The Assault Against Bakhmut
The Russian assault against the town of Bakhmut has largely stalled after some significant progress—significant in terms of the overall Russian performance in the war so far— over the past few weeks.
The main reason for the Russian halt is casualties. In the battle for the Ukrainian town, the Russian military and Wagner Group private military company have lost up to 30,000 men killed or wounded. Tensions between the two organizations have made unity of command and command and control that much harder and turned the offensive against the organized Ukrainian military in to a circus.
The two organizations aren’t only attacking the Ukrainians but also fighting between them for resources and political influence.
“Russia has likely shifted its operational focus towards Avdiivka, south of Bakhmut, and to the Kremina-Svatove sector in the north, areas where Russia likely only aspires to stabilise its front line,” the British Military Intelligence assessed over the weekend.
However, the Russian offensives against Avdiivka and in the east along the Kreminna-Svatove line aren’t going particularly well.
“This suggests an overall return to a more defensive operational design after inconclusive results from its attempts to conduct a general offensive since January 2023,” the British Military Intelligence added.
Russian Casualties in Ukraine
Although the Russian military and Wagner Group private military company lost more than 600 men killed or wounded, they lost almost no heavy weapon systems.
Indeed, it is one of the few days since the start of the war that the Russian forces have lost no tanks and no tactical drones. The low Russian casualties suggest a decrease in the operational tempo and the offensives against the Ukrainian positions. The large-scale offensive the Russian forces launched a few weeks ago is likely running out of steam without achieving any significant successes.
Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Monday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 171,160 Russian troops (and wounded approximately twice to thrice that number)
Destroyed equipment includes: 305 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 291 attack and transport helicopters, 3,595 tanks, 2638 artillery pieces, 6953 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 523 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 18 boats and cutters, 5,493 vehicles and fuel tanks, 277 anti-aircraft batteries, 2,216 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 285 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 911 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.
The Ukrainian military has also suffered heavy casualties in defense of Bakhmut. But Kyiv has chosen to make the sacrifice with the understanding that the Ukrainian town would hold a large number of Russian forces from attacking elsewhere along the contact line.
Expert Biography: 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.