11.7 C
Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Russia, Bakhmut Wagner Group offenses ‘lowest’ since January: UK

Russian soldiers fighting for control of Bakhmut have experienced their “lowest rate” of offensive action in recent days amid an “exhaustion” of troop power in the Ukrainian city, according to British intelligence services.

Bakhmut has become the scene of some of the most intense fighting in the Russo-Ukrainian War as Moscow seeks a rare battlefield victory after months of stagnation. Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his “military special operation” against Ukraine on February 24, 2022 with the goal of a quick and decisive victory. However, Ukraine’s vigorous defense efforts have blunted its military achievements.

Both Ukraine and Russia have been engaged in a bitter struggle for control of the city, as experts say Russia’s capture of the city would offer its troops a symbolic rather than a strategic victory. Moscow, which is fighting alongside the Wagner Group paramilitary entity, has touted its achievements in the city to counter reports that its military was struggling during the war.

However, the UK Ministry of Defense reported on Saturday that its intelligence agency has found a lower rate of offensive action among Russian troops in its daily intelligence update.

“Russia is conducting some of the lowest rates of local offensive action seen since at least January 2023,” the update said. “This is most likely due to the fact that the Russian armed forces have temporarily decimated the combat effectiveness of the deployed formations to such an extent that even local offensive actions are currently unsustainable.”

Moscow is likely to try to “regenerate the troop’s offensive potential” as personnel and ammunition stocks replenish, meaning Russian commanders will be forced to make key decisions about how to deploy them in the coming days, according to the update to move forward in the city.

“In the meantime, commanders will likely be forced to choose between conducting offensive operations and conducting credible full-line defenses,” the ministry wrote.

However, the update revealed that Russia still made some gains in Bakhmut. Specifically, their troops have found “bases” west of the Bakhmutka River, which flows through the center of the city.

British intelligence update is just the latest sign Russia may face backlash at Bakhmut. For months Russia appeared to be making progress against Ukraine, last week claiming to have “advantageous positions” vis-à-vis Ukraine.

Last week, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a US-based think tank, said Russia was taking a “tactical pause” in the month-long campaign to capture the city.

On Thursday, the ISW wrote that Russian troops at Bakhmut are “approaching the peak,” a military term that refers to the point at which a unit is too overloaded or exhausted to continue its advance. The group pointed to a lower number of Russian attacks during the week.

news week emailed the Russian Defense Ministry for comment.

Latest news
Related news


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here