Russian forces claim to have captured the town of Bakhmut after almost a year of fighting.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Wagner Group private military company that has been leading the Russian operation in Bakhmut, claimed on Saturday that his forces now claim 100 percent of Bakhmut.
Bakhmut Has Fallen?
Although the Russians are claiming the capture of Bakhmut, Ukrainian officials are stating that there is still fighting in the town.
Prigozhin stated that his mercenaries would be pulling back from the destroyed town in the coming days and be relieved by the Russian military.
In a video address, the leader of the barbarous mercenary group said that his mercenaries were sent in to attrite the Ukrainian forces and open the way for the Russian military. Whether Russia will be able to hold on to Bakhmut for long is another matter.
In the last weeks, the Ukrainian military has launched a series of localized counterattacks to the north and south of the town, liberating a few miles of territory and threatening the Russian forces within the town. And there is the upcoming large-scale counteroffensive in the works, though it is uncertain where the Ukrainian military leadership will decide to strike when the time comes.
Putin has had to reappraise his objectives several times in this war.
From capturing Kyiv and overthrowing the Ukrainian government in three days, the Russian leader is now forced to celebrate the capture of a pile of rubbles with no strategic benefit and at the cost of approximately 100,000 killed or wounded of his troops.
The “special military operation” in Ukraine isn’t going well for the Kremlin, and Bakhmut is an example of that.
Meanwhile, on day 451 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Russian forces continue to take heavy casualties on the ground.
Over the last 24 hours, the Russian forces have lost more than 700 troops killed or wounded.
But they have also suffered heavy losses in weapon systems. Over the same period, the Russian military and Wagner Group have lost more than 80 heavy weapon systems, such as tanks, artillery pieces, armored personnel carriers, and infantry fighting vehicles.
Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Sunday, Ukrainian forces have killed and wounded approximately 203,160 Russian troops.
Equipment destroyed includes: 308 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 294 attack and transport helicopters, 3783 tanks, 3258 artillery pieces, 7398 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 564 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 18 boats and cutters, 6,115 vehicles and fuel tanks, 327 anti-aircraft batteries, 2,822 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 425 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 1,011 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. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.