On day 426 of the war in Ukraine, the two militaries are entangled in a war of attrition with heavy casualties.
For another day, the Russian forces are suffering significant casualties on the ground in Ukraine. The Russian military and Wagner Group mercenary force are taking most casualties in the Donbas, especially in and around Bakhmut.
Destroyed equipment includes: 308 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 294 attack and transport helicopters, 3,692 tanks, 2,877 artillery pieces, 7,062 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 539 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 18 boats and cutters, 5,792 vehicles and fuel tanks, 292 anti-aircraft batteries, 2,440 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 352 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 Battle of Bakhmut
The fighting in Bakhmut continues with no respite. The Russian forces are in control of most of the town. There is heavy combat in the western parts of Bakhmut, where the Ukrainian forces have created a new defensive line.
But there is heavy fighting in the outskirts of the Donbas town as well. The Ukrainian military has been fighting to maintain its supply routes leading into the town from the west open. The Russian forces have made significant advances to the north and south of Bakhmut, and they have been trying to link up their two axes of advance and completely surround the town and trap the Ukrainian defenders in it.
“A key development over the last week has been fighting on the outskirts of the town, especially near the village of Khromove, as Ukraine seeks to maintain control of its 0506 supply route,” the British Military Intelligence assessed in its latest estimate of the war.
Ukraine’s defense of Bakhmut relies on the limited supplies it can get through. With adverse weather conditions and constant Russian pressure, any supply lines that are still open are worth their weight in gold.
“Ukraine’s other resupply options into Bakhmut are likely complicated by muddy conditions on unsurfaced tracks,” the British Military Intelligence assessed in its latest estimate of the war.
The Ukrainian military is committed to the defense of Bakhmut despite the significant casualties it has suffered defending the town.
“With the town having now been under attack for over 11 months, the Ukrainian defences of Bakhmut have now been integrated as one element of a much deeper defensive zone, which includes the town of Chasiv Yar to the west,” the British Military Intelligence added.
The Russian forces are close to capturing the town after months of fighting. However, if they do manage to overcome the Ukrainian defenses, it is likely to prove a pyrrhic victory because of their heavy losses.
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.