The most intense and largest scale fighting of the whole Ukrainian conflict is centered right now around the small city of Bakhmut in the central Donetsk region, still called Artyomovsk by the locals and Russia.
Russian forces led by the PMC Wagner have been grinding away at the extensive Kiev regime fortifications and trench networks erected in the suburbs and approach to the city for months now with steady but slow progress often only averaging about 100 meters a day.
The Russian strategy has been to “soften” Ukrainian defenses with heavy artillery and rocket attacks sometimes for weeks at a time, only moving in with infantry assault forces when Kiev regime forces have been attritioned to a high degree.
According to even Kiev regime officials, Russian forces enjoy a 9 to 1 or greater artillery advantage in the area. Their battlefield commanders report that the Russian artillery attacks in Bakhmut are the most intense of the conflict thus far.
This has resulted in comparatively minimal losses on the Russian side and extremely heavy casualties on the Kiev regime side, despite Zelenskiy’s generals under orders to hold the city at all costs, with no counting of lives lost, throwing reinforcements after reinforcements after reinforcements, often poorly trained and armed territorial defense units and forced conscripts, into what has been frequently termed a “meat grinder” or a “firetrap” by former US General Wesley Clark, or even a “bloody vortex” by the New York Times.
Western mercenary commanders on the ground have spoken of Kiev regime battalions routinely suffering attrition in excess of 70% and Western media reports them suffering from 500-1000 causalities a day, just in Bakhmut. The Kiev regime’s crack 93rd Mechanized Brigade was degraded to near nothing, and the handfuls of survivors, pulled back in the last week.
Hospitals in every city all the way to Kiev are full of the injured from Bakhmut.
With this high casualty ratio in their favor, Russian forces have been largely content with their slow pace of advance, as it degrades and “demilitarizes” the Kiev regime in the most brutal and lop-sided fashion. The more forces demilitarized here, the less to be demilitarized elsewhere where they might have a more advantageous defensive position.
Recent weeks have seen Russian breakthroughs around Bakhmut taking the high-ground satellite settlements first to the south and now the north, putting the city under Russian fire control, where Russian artillery cover the Kiev regime’s last supply lines into the city and Russian forces have now pushed into the residential area city proper in house to house fighting, with Kiev regime forces having turned every building into a fire-point and mini-citadel that need to be stormed, and blown up rail bridges that lead from Bakhmut further West to Slavyansk. Their lives are now being spent for time to hastily erect new trenches and defenses in cities further back to the West.
The recent Russian advances in Bakhmut as Kiev regime counteroffensives elsewhere petered out, due in no small part to the drain of reinforcements and supplies pulled from other fronts into the Bakhmut “vortex”, and the city’s fall appearing to be just a matter of time, have led to a ridiculous amount of latter-day copium coming out of Western MSM outlets suddenly downplaying the importance of the city, ubiquitously referring to the Russian focus on taking the city as “senseless”, “meaningless”, “pointless”, and even “offering no operational benefit”.
And bitter bitter petulant copium is exactly what it is.
Russia has perfectly obvious strategic and political reasons for focusing on the city, that the Western MSM is playing down to lessen the inevitable morale blow of Kiev regime defeat and desperately maintain the “Ukraine is winning” fan fiction when Bakhmut does fall.
First of all – common sense – the stubborn resistance of the Kiev regime pouring reinforcements, weapons, ammunition and supplies into the city for months, despite such heavy and disproportionate losses tells you how much importance they place on the city.
Second – clearly articulated initial Russian goals of the SMO put principal focus on both liberating all of the Donbass, including obviously Bakhmut, and demilitarization of the Kiev regime, both of which are being accomplished here.
Third - The city of Bakhmut is an important crossroads, and transport & logistics hub. Major road arteries of northern Donetsk run through it, most importantly the M03 towards Slovyansk and on eventually to Kiev, as well opening up a useful supply load from Popasna. In addition, a railroad runs from the city to the north to Luhansk and then Russia to the south to Maiorsk and Donetsk City.
Fourth - Bakhmut is the center and lynchpin of the second to last major Kiev regime fortified defense line in the Donetsk region. If it falls, then holding on to Soledar and Seversk to the north of the same line becomes extremely hard and costly, if not impossible, due to severed supply lines and flanking these positions, almost certainly forcing a Ukrainian retreat from these fortifications as well.
Fifth – the capture of Bakhmut, forcing a Kiev regime force withdrawal from Seversk to the north would threaten the underbelly of the Kiev regime bridgehead further north around Kreminaya, where they have a stalled offensive targeted at Svatovo in northern Lugansk
Sixth – liberating Bakhmut opens the way West to the Slavyansk-Kramatorsk-Konstantinovka defensive line of fortifications, the last major Kiev regime defensive line in Donbass, and the cities of Donbass where the uprising against the West-backed Maidan Putsch in Kiev all began in 2014.
Seventh – as the lynchpin of the Kiev regime defense of central Donestsk, taking Bakhmut would allow Russia to flank other city fortifications.
The elevated ridgeline on the SW side of Bakhmut is the highest terrain feature of the area and gives Russia the ability to support long artillery strikes and attacks southwest, towards Toretsk and Pivnichno, an advance in that direction would allow Russia to put those supply routes under fire control as well.
Eighth – control of the Bakhmut area would help secure the Seversky-Donetsk canal, which is essential to the water supply of the city of Donetsk, cut off by the Kiev regime since 2015.
As you can see there are plenty of reasons why Bakhmut has been called “the key to Donetsk” and both sides have expended so much and so many lives in the months long battle for the city, absurd and bitter Western media copium, nonwithstanding.
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People have forgotten how merciless the Russia attacks were in the spring. The Ukrainians would hold a line, get chewed up by artillery and have to fall back, just to have the Russians pull the artillery up to the next line and start again. The Ukrainians/NATO still don't have an answer for that problem so the best they can do is throw bodies into the trenches and hope that Russia runs out of artillery. It's sad, really.
There is a considerable amount of talk on some UK alt news sites on how ultimately the 'Putin regime' is quintessentially just another part of the Globalist agenda and that this conflict in Ukraine is at the highest level of globalist politics merely a theatrical way of implementing economic and security policy in line with the 4IR. Cited as evidence is Russia's supposed refusal to use S400 to protect the Donbass residents from AFU missiles and artillery, thus prolonging the conflict. Why isn't Russia protecting her new republics in this way? Or if the system is being used, why isn't it working?