On day 446 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, heavy fighting in and around Bakhmut continues. The Russian forces are advancing block to block within the ruined town. But outside, the Ukrainians are gaining ground.
The Russian forces continue to take significant casualties on the ground in Ukraine.
The Russian military and Wagner Group private military company are about to hit 200,000 killed or wounded, according to Ukrainian estimates. However, Western intelligence estimates assess that the Russian forces have lost more than 220,000 troops.
Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Tuesday, Ukrainian forces have killed and wounded approximately 199,980 Russian troops.
Equipment destroyed includes: 308 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 294 attack and transport helicopters, 3,762 tanks, 3,150 artillery pieces, 7,348 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 562 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 18 boats and cutters, 6,048 vehicles and fuel tanks, 316 anti-aircraft batteries, 2,732 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 410 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 973 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.
The Fighting Inside and Around Bakhmut
The battle for Bakhmut continues with no respite. There have been several developments over the past several days. The Russian forces continue to make progress within the town, especially near the town center. Despite threats to pull out his forces, Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin and his mercenaries are still in Bakhmut and spearhead the fighting inside the town.
However, on the outskirts of the town, the Ukrainian military is gaining ground. Over the last four days, the Ukrainian military has recaptured ground both to the north and south of Bakhmut, stabilizing the flanks that were in danger of collapsing and trapping the garrison inside.
Securing the flanks is key for the Ukrainian defenders because of supply routes that lead into the town. Maintaining these supply routes open is essential for the defense of the town.
“As well as progress to the south of town, Ukrainian assaults have forced back the Russian frontline to the north-west of the town. This has likely enabled Ukrainian forces to re-establish more secure use of the key 0506 supply road,” the British Military Intelligence assessed in its latest estimate of the war.
Bakhmut is the longest and deadliest battle of the conflict so far. In a few weeks, it will be the one-year anniversary since the Russian forces started attacking the town.
“Ukraine is holding Russia’s western advances along the line of Donets-Donbas Canal, turning the waterway into an obstacle as part of a deep defensive zone around the town of Chasiv Yar,” the British Military Intelligence added.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian forces continue to attack targets of military value deep behind the frontlines. The British Military Intelligence assessed that earlier in the month, the Ukrainians launched suicide drones against a Russian airbase about 100 miles north of the battlefield. In the attack, the Ukrainian drones damaged an An-124 heavy transport aircraft. The attacks show that Kyiv has the capabilities and desire to make life hard for the Russian military, even hundreds of miles away from the frontlines.
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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.