After ten months of one of the longest and bloodiest battles in Russia’s war in Ukraine, Ukrainian soldiers are now defending a shrinking half-circle of ruins in a western neighborhood of Bakhmut, only about 20 blocks wide and continually pounded with artillery. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the current situation in Bakhmut, the strategic imperative of holding out, and the challenges facing Ukrainian soldiers.
UKRAINIAN ARMY HUNKERS DOWN IN A SHRINKING BATTLE ZONE
Pushed into this ever-smaller corner of the 16-square-mile city, the Ukrainian army is determined to hunker down and hold out, even as allies have quietly questioned the rationale for fighting block by block, sustaining significant casualties, in a city that is a devastating panorama of damaged buildings and rubble. Even six weeks ago, Ukraine’s toehold in Bakhmut had seemed tenuous and the city close to being encircled, according to recently leaked U.S. intelligence documents.
HOLDING OUT IN GRIM CONDITIONS
In Kyiv’s assessment, holding out in these grim conditions is a strategic imperative, to bog down the Russian Army while Ukraine rearms and retrains its own military for a coming counteroffensive. Ukrainian soldiers are pursuing a costly strategy to hold out. The military continually deploys small units of soldiers into dire conditions in close-range urban combat, while thousands of others defend the access route from fields and villages to the city’s west.
SHORTAGES OF AMMUNITION
The problem facing Ukrainian soldiers is not bottlenecks along the perilous access road into the city, but general shortages in Ukraine’s military warehouses. Ukraine has been short on various ammunition, including artillery shells, tank rounds, and rocket-propelled grenades. Allies have been slow with deliveries, and Ukraine needs its partners to be more rapid in providing the needed supplies.
CLOSE-RANGE URBAN COMBAT
Ukrainian soldiers are fighting in abandoned buildings, basements, and trenches cut through parks, under round-the-clock bombardment. They are often close enough to hear Russians talking in nearby buildings. The sheer silence of the city is broken every few seconds by a boom or a rattle of small arms, coming from three directions, the north, east, and south, just hundreds of yards away. Each side claims that the battle for Bakhmut, which has resulted in tens of thousands of casualties over 10 months, has been vital for weakening the other.
ADVANTAGES AND CHALLENGES OF URBAN WARFARE
Such street fighting has advantages for Ukraine. As in any urban warfare, the maze of ruins and hiding places forces the more powerful military, in this case Russia’s, to fight on an equal footing, unable to leverage its superiority in heavy weaponry or artillery. In urban combat, it is common to deploy an encirclement strategy to starve defending forces of ammunition, but Ukraine has reinforced the access road and held it open, allowing for resupply and evacuation of wounded.
In conclusion, the battle for Bakhmut has been a long and costly one for both sides. Ukrainian soldiers are fighting to hold out in a shrinking battle zone, facing shortages of ammunition and ever-present danger in close-range urban combat. However, the strategic imperative of bogging down the Russian Army while Ukraine rearms and retrains its own military for a coming counteroffensive is driving their determination to hold out.
The article above is based on real events that took place in Bakhmut, Ukraine, during the country’s conflict with Russia. The article aims to provide an informative and factual account of the situation without taking any political or social stance. It does not intend to promote or endorse any political ideology, party, or individual. The article also does not offer any legal advice or opinion. The information presented in this article is accurate to the best of our knowledge and belief, based on sources deemed reliable, but we cannot guarantee its absolute accuracy. Readers are advised to conduct their research and verify any information before making any decisions or taking any actions.