Russia’s attempts to take full control of the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut continue despite losing men and equipment. However, according to the commander of the Ukrainian Land Forces, Oleksandr Syrskyi, the assaults are running out of steam and the Ukrainian military will soon take advantage of this to drive the Russians out of the city altogether. The Wagner group, mercenaries hired by Russia, continue to be the main component of Russian assaults in Bakhmut, and they are losing strength considerably. The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reports that Russia is slowing down its operations in Bakhmut, making marginal advances in some areas, while Ukraine is launching counterattacks in others.
Bakhmut is a “fortress city” on the Ukrainian front that has suffered severe damage since the start of the war. More than 80 percent of the city’s homes have been destroyed by fighting, and fewer than 4,000 people remain in a city that once had a population of 73,000. Humanitarian aid comes through charities and volunteers, and it is difficult to get food and supplies. The Ukrainian army is fiercely resisting all attacks using almost the full range of artillery and mortars, with the Wagner group being responsible for the majority of assaults.
Russia wants to score a military victory in Bakhmut after several setbacks last summer and fall, but the situation is turning against Russia. Ukrainian troops have already seized several previously occupied territories and will soon take advantage of the weakened Russian assaults to drive them out of Bakhmut. The city has suffered severe damage, and its civilian population has mostly fled or suffered through months of living in basements and shelters for safety. Despite this, the Ukrainian army remains resilient, and Bakhmut remains under Kiev control for now.