Ambulances, armored personnel carriers and passenger vehicles. These vehicles took turns in front of the only military hospital in Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine – one after another – for about an hour. It seemed that the stream of wounded warriors would never end.
“They come in waves. “Ten soldiers, ten, five and ten again,” Ukrainian paramedic Parus told The New York Times. “In recent days, the Russians have tried to advance more intensively,” he said.
On Friday morning alone, doctors counted fifty injured; mostly soldiers. In fact, 240 people passed through the hospital entrance the previous day. Doctors treated bullet wounds, shrapnel wounds, and concussions.
Ukrainian Bakhmut, located in the Donetsk region, has become a place of destruction, where the armies of both countries have bled for about three quarters of the past year since the start of the war. Both sides have been sending masses of soldiers and supplies here for months: the Russians are trying to seize the city, the Ukrainians are trying to hold the city.
The city, which once had a population of about 70,000, is falling apart, disappearing and fighting over time. Moreover, according to witnesses, the bombing is more intense than ever before.
Wagners push the Ukrainians
According to the information about the withdrawal of the invading forces from this city, Russia lost Kherson, but did not lose many soldiers and equipment. Elsewhere fierce fighting continues, the situation of the defenders of Bachmut, captured by the Wagners, has worsened, among other things.
NYT writers Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Natalia Jemakova describe the frontline on the city’s slums as a muddy moonscape or a World War I scene.
The Russians are repeatedly bombing already bombed buildings, at night residents can hear the grunt of jets hovering in the sky.
The Russians are sending so-called Wagnerists, members of a paramilitary organization with direct ties to the Kremlin, backed by Russian grassroots forces relocated from Kherson, to the Ukrainian trenches. Ukraine responded by deploying special forces and trained regional defense fighters.
Confusion by military analysts
Intense Russian attempts to invade Bakhmut are confusing military analysts. The Russians are fighting with all their might in the city of Donbas, trying to conserve resources to survive the winter elsewhere on the nearly thousand-kilometer front line.
And while their efforts in the summer seemed plausible – after capturing the neighboring province of Luhansk, they would be able to continue their efforts to conquer the entire east – now, given the decline of Russian forces, the lack of ammunition and the loss of support. It is unclear what the Russians’ aim was in the northeast of Ukraine.
“The Russian military is still grappling with unrealistic political demands just to make progress,” Michael Kofman, director of Russian studies at the CNA Research Institute in the US state of Virginia, told The New York Times. “They are unlikely to be successful at Bachmut. It seems that the Russian army again supplies only a part of the troops and does not provide them with sufficient support,” he thinks.
Russian strategy in Bakhmut is reminiscent of the occupation of the eastern cities of Severodoněck and Lysyčansk in June. There, too, the troops relied on superior artillery fire to help them defeat the Ukrainian forces and secure a foothold. At that time, the Ukrainians lacked grenades and artillery. But now the situation is different with Bachmut.
See how the queue transforms before winter
Despite the deteriorating weather, both Ukrainian and Russian forces continue to attempt another offensive. The invaders are trying to advance in the Donetsk region near Bakhmut and Avdijivka, while the Ukrainians are mainly concentrating on the Luhansk region.
“In the six months I’ve been in Bakhmut, I’ve never seen our artillery work like this,” said one of the Ukrainian soldiers, referring to the number of missiles Ukraine sent. It demands more shells from NATO and other countries to keep up with the pace of bombing.
It is alleged that the Russians then tried to buy ammunition from North Korea and Iran. “We fear that Ukraine is firing at an unsustainable rate in places like Bakhmut: under the false assumption that supplies from the West are unlimited,” one American defense official said on condition of anonymity.
A war of attrition
“Wars like Bachmut drain forces that could be used elsewhere,” says analyst Kofman, noting that Russian forces use people they consider expendable, but still can’t afford to spend that much on artillery.
The battle for Bachmut thus gradually turned into a war of attrition; and the strategic importance of the city changes with it. Even as Russia’s prospects for territorial expansion gradually fade, the Federation city may continue to use Ukraine as a black hole that consumes resources and manpower.
This will distract Kiev’s troops from elsewhere, potentially from future attacks.
US defense officials estimate that Russia and Ukraine lost 100,000 troops (on both sides) during the war. These are soldiers who have retired from war, that is, fallen and killed.
However, these figures cannot be verified, neither side explains their losses for strategic reasons. It is similarly impossible to verify how many victims are already on the Bachmut battlefield.
Source: Seznam Zpravy
I am Joel Fitzgerald, a news website author for The News Dept. I have worked in the media and journalism industry for over 10 years and specialize in world news. My articles have been featured in prominent publications such as The New York Times and The Washington Post, where I am an expert contributor on global affairs.
I also write extensively on topics related to politics, economics, business, finance and technology. My work has been recognized with numerous awards from organizations such as the United Nations Press Corps and Associated Press Editors Association of America (APEA).
In addition to my writing career, I have held various roles within the field of communications ranging from public relations specialist to digital strategist.