Having defended and fortified the area of Bakhmut for some months, Ukranian defenders are facing increased ferocity from Russian attacks. There is a definite feeling on the Russian side that victory is needed, and they have put extensive resources into the effort of subduing the Ukraine resistance in Bakhmut City.
With increased intensity in efforts to take Bakhmut City Russian forces now appear to be running low on supplies including ammunition, and are complaining about the lack of incoming supplies. The Bakhmut siege is being carried out mainly by soldiers from the infamous Wagner private military group. It appears due to internal conflics within the Russian military system Wagner have been abandoned by the main Russian army and starved of supplies, either on the direction by Putin or Russian military Generals.
Prigozhin has spoken out of turn a few times recently and it could be that Putin is now looking to sacrifice his former Chef and once close ally. This could have a positive effect on Russia Ukraine relations as there would be an exit strategy for Russia to withdraw from war. Prigozhin’ forces have committed a number of documented war crimes in Ukraine.
Wagner Group have managed to surround Bakhmut city partly on three sides, but have sustained casusalties believed to be in the thousands. Russian artillery has been able to take high ground around the city which faces constant bombardment and restricted movement of troops. Wagner forces have resorted to sending waves of troops into built up areas to try and flush out defenders yet these missions unsupported by enough heavy armour are proving to be unsuccessful, simply providing cannon fodder and target practive to entrenched Ukrainian defenders. Equipped with drones and mortarts the Ukrainians are using all tools at their disposal to counter the enemy artilery fire and counter attack where possible.
Whilst the situation may appear untenable and obvious risks of chemical or biological weapon attack, or full encirclement will be at the forefront of Ukrainian Generals minds, there is a definite sense that victory in Bakhmut is very close for Ukraine. Bakhmut is proving to be a valuable defence training excercise and should aid the knowlege of Ukraines military leaders in defending settlements within Ukranian borders from future Russian attacks. Casualties on both sides have been terrible and we should mourn the loss of all brave souls who are often conscripted soldiers with no choice but to fight, on both sides.
The defence of settlements like Bakhmut, using properly constructed fortifications, especially underground bunkers and tunnels, can make a great difference in modern warfare. Fortifications which can withstand highly explosive repeated attacks are being built all over Ukraine to defend against what has been widely criticised as being an illegal war. In modern war underground bunkers and tunnel systems offer safety from bombardment, and factor of surprise when defending and counter attacking.
Having drained Russian manpower resources and morale in Bakhmut Ukraine has many forces within short striking distance to counter attack and relieve Bakhmut. When this counter attack will come in uncertain but it seems very likely and potentially will happpen within days not weeks.
With other Russian attacks across the front lines stalling, there is significant risk to Russia that its armies could be defeated or encircled themselves around Bakhmut, especially when ground becomes firm enough for Ukranian armour to make real impact on the battlefield.
Should Wagner Group and their Enignatic yet slightly delusional leader Prigozhin be defeated in Bakhmut, it will cause significant negative sentiment within Russia. Whilst Russia has large numbers of armoured vehicles to sacrifice and many more thousands of troops, it is uncertain how many servicable tanks they can get into service over the coming weeks when battles will intensify, and a victory may be decided.
Even before the spring, there may come a point, even over the coming days, when Russia decides that it’s position is untenable and is forced to withdraw forces. There are good opportunities for displomacy and serious discussions on ways to end further conflict should Ukraine achive a position of domination over its opponent. There have been too many recent mistakes and setbacks to allow a meaningful victory of Russian forces which are under-trained and under-equipped at this time. As each day passes Ukrainian resistance is growing stronger with the influx of Western weapons and resources.
Ukraine has benefited from Bullet Resistant Armour of all kinds from around the world. Helmets and Plated Armour solutions are helping to reduce Ukrainian losses. Some reports are suggesting there is a 5 Russian to 1 Ukranaian death rate, no doubt influenced by superior body armour, especially bullet proof vests. The West is supplying advanced Armoured Vehicles and other defensive solutions to protect life and reduce suffering across the Ukraine warzone.