The Ukrainian military might be making the most significant gains in southern Ukraine, but the counteroffensive is much broader than that.
Further to the north, the Ukrainian military has been slowly but surely unraveling the Russian gains around the ruined town of Bakhmut.
Moscow only managed to capture Bakhmut in May after more than a year of fighting and close to 100,000 casualties.
Ukrainians are threatening to take back what is theirs.
Progress Around Bakhmut
“Since 15 September 2023, the Ukrainian Armed Forces have secured the villages of Klishchiivka and Andriivka, approximately 8km to the south of the Donetsk Oblast town of Bakhmut,” the British Military Intelligence assessed in its latest estimate on the war.
This progress has brought the Ukrainian forces closer to one of the main supply routes that lead into Bakhmut from the south (T 05-13 highway).
“However, Russia continues to hold the railway line which runs along an embankment between Klishchiivka and the T 05-13, creating a readily defendable obstacle,” the British Military Intelligence added.
But to defend it effectively, the Russian military needs men. And that isn’t a given, especially after the recent relocation of troops to the western Zaporizhzhia Oblast where the Ukrainian counteroffensive threatens to breach the Russian defenses.
“Recent redeployments of Russian airborne forces from Bakhmut to Zaporizhzhia in southern Ukraine have likely weakened Russia’s defences around Bakhmut,” the British Military Intelligence stated.
After the initial weeks of the counteroffensive, and after seeing that it couldn’t breach the Russian defenses by sheer force, the Ukrainian military changed its strategy and pursued one of attrition to weaken the Russian forces along the contact line and exploit any gaps created.
The Russian forces have prevented an operational breakthrough but at a heavy cost. Since the start of the large-scale Ukrainian operation almost four months ago, the Russian forces have lost close to 60,000 men killed, wounded, and captured, as well as thousands of heavy weapons, drones, and vehicles.
Russian Casualties in Ukraine: 274,00 Dead or Wounded
Meanwhile, on the ground on day 574 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Russian military and pro-Russian separatist forces persisted in taking significant casualties in the fighting.
Over the past 24 hours, the Russian forces saw more than 500 men killed, wounded, or captured, as well as over 100 heavy weapon systems, drones, and vehicles destroyed. The Russian military continues to lose a large number of artillery pieces every day, and that creates a vicious cycle of casualties as it can’t counter the Ukrainian guns.
Overall, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claims that as of Wednesday, Ukrainian forces have killed and wounded approximately 273,980 Russian troops, destroyed 322 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 316 attack and transport helicopters, 4,635 tanks, 6,096 artillery pieces, 8,868 armored personnel carriers, and infantry fighting vehicles, 779 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 20 boats and cutters, 8,633 vehicles, and fuel tanks, 526 anti-aircraft batteries, 4,821 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 906 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 1,479 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 and a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ). He holds a BA from the Johns Hopkins University, an MA from the Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), and is pursuing a J.D. at Boston College Law School. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.