Russia wants to get hold of the strategically important city of Bakhmut – according to information from Moscow, this goal is closer. “Bahmut is now operationally surrounded, our forces are closing the ring around the city,” Jan Gagin, an adviser to Russia-appointed Prime Minister Denis Puschilin, said on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian leadership expects a new Russian offensive and, as a result, the heaviest fighting since the start of the war by spring.
Gagin explained that Bakhmut is currently fighting for control of the highway that connects the city to the nearby town of Chasiv Yar. Russia has said it has taken control of several locations around Bakhmut. His troops and mercenaries from the Wagner Group have been waging a war of attrition there for months.
The offensive around Bachmut has not yet reached its peak
According to the US Institute for War Studies (ISW), Russia is increasingly relying on conventional forces in the battle for Bakhmut. The offensive around the town, formerly led by the Russian private army Wagner, is not yet at its peak, the Washington-based think tank writes in its most recent report Tuesday evening (local time).
Conventional troops support Private Army Wagner
An earlier estimate by the think tank at the end of December, according to which the fighting in Bakhmut had already reached its peak, turned out to be wrong. This only referred to the deployment of Wagner’s private army. Since then, however, the Russian side has deployed enough conventional forces to keep the fighting going.
In its statements, the think tank refers, among other things, to Ukrainian military information. The institute does not predict whether Bakhmut will fall into the hands of Russian forces any time soon. It is unlikely that Russian troops would surprisingly surround the city. However, it is conceivable that the Ukrainian side will withdraw to avoid major losses. According to the institute, a regrouping in Bakhmut could mean that Russian conventional forces could completely replace Wagner’s battle-weary private army, even assuming that Russian conventional forces could eventually take the city.
Kiev expects the heaviest fighting since the start of the war
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian leadership expects a new Russian offensive and, as a result, the heaviest fighting since the start of the war by spring. “We have come a long, hard way, but I understand that the most important battles are still ahead of us and will take place this year, in the next two to three months,” Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of the National Security Council of Ukraine, said in a statement. an interview. aired Wednesday.
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