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Russia Putting Up ‘Desperate Resistance’ As Ukraine Offensive Move Forward

Switchblade Drone Attack by Ukraine. Image Credit: Creative Commons.
Switchblade Drone Attack by Ukraine

Ukrainian military officials said on Friday that the ongoing counteroffensive in Ukraine’s southern and eastern regions is already delivering results for Kyiv, describing how Russian forces have put up a “desperate resistance” around the city of Bakhmut.

Russia claimed to have taken full control of the eastern Ukrainian city in late May, though Ukrainian officials denied the claims at the time and said troops were encircling the city and preparing a new offensive.

Writing on Telegram, the head of the Ukrainian ground forces, Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi, described how Russia is now deploying its most capable division to the Bakhmut region, backed by both artillery and aircraft.

“We continue to conduct offensive actions in separate directions, occupying dominant heights, and strips of forest with the aim of forcing the enemy gradually out of the outskirts of Bakhmut. Realising this, the enemy units put up desperate resistance,” Syrskyi wrote.

The news marks a change in Russia’s approach to the war, with both sides focusing primarily on the use of artillery systems, tanks, and drones, rather than deploying fighter jets. Analysts have speculated that Russia has so far deliberately refrained from deploying its most advanced aircraft over fears that they may be shot down by Ukrainian air-defense systems – losing Russia its most advanced aircraft at a time when every weapon counts.

Syrskyi also described how Ukrainian forces are making gains in the south, having regained control of roughly 38 square miles in just the last week.

Putin Stresses Ukrainian Losses

Russian President Vladimir Putin, having already acknowledged that the counteroffensive is underway, continues to paint a different picture of the situation on the ground. Speaking to Russian media this week, the Russian president said that Ukraine has not been “successful in any sectors.”

Putin also said that Ukraine is experiencing “huge losses,” and that as many as one quarter of combat vehicles given to Ukraine have been destroyed, including more than 160 main battle tanks. Russia, Putin claimed, has only lost 54 in the same period. 

Some analysts also say that Ukraine’s progress so far has been minimal but argue that the slow gains may be deliberate.

Speaking to CNBC on Thursday, Royal United Services Institute research fellow Nick Reynolds described Ukraine’s strategy as a “cautious” one. 

“It is no surprise that Ukraine is being cautious,” Reynolds said. “I would say that if this counter offensive doesn’t ultimately result in a big bang, I don’t think anyone should be really surprised. Perhaps they will be able to find certain weak points and take large amounts of ground or this could be a more incremental offensive,” he added. 

Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.

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Written By

Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive's Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.