It is possible that the Russian offensive on Bakhmut will lose the limited momentum it has gained. The UK Ministry of Defense announced this on Twitter on March 22.
The British army explains its conclusions by the fact that some units of the Russian Ministry of Defense have been transferred to other sectors of military operations, without marking their new deployment points.
However, it is alleged that fighting in central Bakhmut continues and Ukrainian positions remain under threat of encirclement from the north and south.
The UK MoD tweet also highlights that Ukrainian forces have launched a localized counterattack west of the city in recent days. This can obviously weaken Russian control over one of the Ukrainian group of troops’ supply routes.
According to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the Russian forces have focused their main efforts on attempts to completely seize the Donetsk and Luhansk regions within their administrative borders.
“The enemy continues to conduct offensive operations in the Limansky, Bakhmutsky, Avdeevsky, Maryinsky and Miners directions. The fiercest battles are continuing in the southern and northern parts of Bakhmut, and the enemy has also carried out offensive operations in the direction of Avdiivka in order to establish control of Avdiivka and Maryinka,” the message from the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
It also indicates that the enemy continues its offensive operations in the direction of Bakhmut, but that its offensive potential is reduced.
“The enemy keeps trying to capture the city, losing a significant amount of manpower, weapons and military equipment. Our defenders are repelling numerous enemy attacks around the clock in the areas of the settlements of Bakhmut, Bogdanovka and Predtechino,” the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine emphasizes.
The Meduza portal reported on March 22 that Ukrainian armed forces continue to defend Bakhmut, although the situation around the city has not improved for them. The document also points out that “Russian troops went on the offensive in order to encircle the Avdiivka fortified area of the Ukrainian Armed Forces on the northern outskirts of Donetsk”. It is also reported that the Russian offensive continues in the Kremennaya region north of Bakhmut.
As the press service of the President of Ukraine reported, on March 22, during a working trip to the Donetsk region, Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited the forward positions of the Ukrainian army in the direction of Bakhmut.
Zelenskyyy heard reports about the operational situation and the course of hostilities at the front. The president spoke to the military and expressed his gratitude to them.
“I have the honor to be here today, in the east of our state, in the Donbass, and to reward our heroes, to thank you, to shake your hand. Thank you for defending the state, sovereignty, eastern Ukraine,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.
Attendees honored the memory of fallen defenders with a minute of silence.
The President of Ukraine presented the servicemen with state awards and also visited the hospital where wounded Ukrainian servicemen, including Bakhmut defenders, are treated.
This is Volodymyr Zelenskyy ‘s second visit to the Ukrainian troop site in Bakhmut in the past three months. The Office of the President of Ukraine reports that on December 20, 2022, Volodymyr Zelenskyy was in Bakhmut, where he “met with military personnel, spoke and rewarded our soldiers”.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Air Force Command reports that on the night of March 22, Russia attacked Ukraine with Iranian-made shock kamikaze drones of the type Shahed-136/131.
A total of 16 of the 21 recorded drones fired from the Bryansk region of Russia were destroyed.
As a result of this attack, seven people died in the Kiev region. Andrey Nebitov, the chief of police of the Kiev region, announced this on his telegram channel.
“Seven dead, injured as a result of a nighttime drone attack on hostels and an educational institution in one of the districts of the Kiev region. Among the victims was a child,” he said .
Ukrinform reported that 33 casualties are currently known as a result of the shelling of Zaporizhzhia. There might be people under the rubble of a multi-storey building, which was hit by a rocket, Yuriy Malashko, president of Zaporizhia OVA, said in a comment to Ukrinform on March 22.
The director of the Dialogue Institute for Socio-Political Design, Andrei Miselyuk, explains the attention of the country’s military-political leadership to Bakhmut.
“There is such a phenomenon, it exists in the minds of Ukrainians, -” Bakhmut Fortress “is a symbol of inflexibility and the ability to defend its territory. It is not only a military symbol, but also a symbol political. The military-political leadership of Ukraine, starting with the president, has invested a lot of political capital in order for the city to survive. And the president constantly insists in his speeches that we hold and will hold the most long as possible,” Miselyuk told media’s Russian service correspondent.
Western experts, he said, also note that the Russian offensive has reached its climax and that Ukraine’s positions on the front are getting stronger, partly thanks to the resilience of the Ukrainian garrison in Bakhmut.
“The balance is already beginning to tip towards the Ukrainian troops, and in order for this process to develop, and for us to go on the counteroffensive, including for this, the President came to Bakhmut to support the efforts of the military”, said the expert. explain.
In his opinion, Bakhmut can play an important role when the counteroffensive begins and become, if not the main, then at least an important starting point for this process.
Chairman of the board of the Center for Strategic Studies, Pavel Zhovnirenko, notes that the Russians promised to take control of Bakhmut last fall. He believes that there are tactical and symbolic reasons to continue the defense of this city.
“And no one can refuse it. For Ukraine, it is also a symbol. If the Russians launch packs of recruits without training, they try to infiltrate through the front line in groups of 5-10 people and without support, if they have adopted such a tactic and consider it effective – killing their soldiers, so why shouldn’t Ukraine defend this city, and not destroy the enemy soldiers while holding Bakhmut? says the analyst.
The battles of Bakhmut, according to him, can be compared with the Battle of Stalingrad in World War II, during which neither side wanted to give in.
“For each of the parties, the surrender of the city means half losing the war or losing a very important battle,” said Zhovnirenko.
Asked whether Bakhmut will be the starting point for a Ukrainian counter-offensive, the political scientist replies that the counter-offensive will take place where it is not expected.
“Otherwise it will either be a failed offensive or a very costly offensive. Lots of options. It’s the art of war, hitting the enemy where he least expects an attack. Everyone hopes so, at least on the Ukrainian side,” notes the Ukrainian political scientist.
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