However, the situation in and around the town continues to be precarious.
The Fight for Bakhmut
The fighting in and around Bakhmut continues.
Ukraine has deployed some elite units in the area to stabilize the front and, if need be, support a fighting withdrawal from the town.
The Ukrainian leadership has repeatedly said that it won’t fight to the last man in Bakhmut and if the position becomes unattainable, it will withdraw its forces to fight another day.
But the Russians aren’t fighting just the Ukrainians.
Indeed, the ongoing feud between the Russian military and the Wagner Group mercenaries continues to create problems for Moscow.
The latest spat is about ammunition, with Wagner Group mercenaries complaining about the logistical support from the Russian military.
“Public disagreements between the Wagner Group and Russian Ministry of Defence over the allocation of munitions highlights the difficulty in sustaining the high levels of personnel and ammunition required to advance with their current tactics,” the British Military Intelligence assessed in its latest estimate of the war.
And yet Ukraine is likely to be the overall winner even if Bakhmut falls. The Russian forces have dedicated so many troops and resources to the fight to take the town that they will struggle to maintain any offensive momentum that would result from capturing Bakhmut.
Meanwhile, both sides continue to take heavy casualties on the meat grinder of Bakhmut.
Russian Casualties in Ukraine
The past 24 hours were some of the deadliest in the war so far for the Russian forces.
According to the official Ukrainian estimates—which are largely corroborated by Western intelligence assessments—the Russian military and private military company Wagner Group lost almost 1,100 troops killed or wounded.
The recent advances that the Russians have made in and around Bakhmut can be largely attributed to the sheer number of troops they are throwing into the fight.
Indeed, in some parts of the frontlines, Ukrainian units have to repel as many as 18 human wave attacks against their positions in short succession. It is clear that in the absence of superior strategy and technology, Moscow resorts to brute force to achieve its objectives on the ground.
Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Tuesday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 154,830 Russian troops (and wounded approximately twice to thrice that number)
Destroyed equipment includes: 302 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 289 attack and transport helicopters, 3,432 tanks, 2,456 artillery pieces, 6,714 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 489 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 18 boats and cutters, 5,323 vehicles and fuel tanks, 253 anti-aircraft batteries, 2,095 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 236 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 873 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.
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. He is currently working towards a Master’s Degree in Strategy and Cybersecurity at the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.