As the Battle For Bakhmut Comes to an End
The battle could be won on favorable terms for Kyiv if there isn't a dramatic reversal.
The 10-month-long battle for Bakhmut involved tens to thousands of regular Russian army soldiers and Wagner Group mercenaries, as well as a similar number active and territorial Ukrainian troops. It may have ended just a few days after February 24, the first anniversary of Russia’s wider war against Ukraine.
Just before March 2, Russian troops advanced northward and southward of the ruined city, which had a pre-war population 70,0000.The Russians also cut the 0504 road that leads to Bakhmut from the West in the south.
Both roads could have been cut to trap thousands of Ukrainian troops, including special forces and territorials, as well as elements of the 92nd Mechanized Brigades and the 93rd Mechanized Brigades. They would be clinging to the Bakhmut shell-pocked remains.
The Ukrainians resisted further Russian advances in the South and counterattacked in North. The 0506 was a track that Ukrainian engineers followed and they built an armored bridge to replace the Russian-destroyed permanent span.
Russian rockets and artillery destroyed some of the Ukrainian vehicles that were making dangerous runs along the 0506 and over the armored bridge into Bakhmut. The losses to Ukraine include a rare BTR-4E tank and a T-80 tank from the 93rd Brigade with unique modifications. Tragically, the famous crew of the T-80 tank were killed in the attack on their tank.
The Ukrainians then killed Russians by the dozens. They can be bombarded with artillery or tank fire. Drones were sent in to drop grenades onto their positions. A 93rd Brigade missile squad shot down a Russian Su-25 attack plane that was possibly flown by a Wagner Group mercenary.
A NATO official stated to CNN that five Russians were killed for every Ukrainian death on March 6.Russia may have been the victim of one of the most costly days of war on Saturday. According to the Ukrainian general staff, Ukrainian forces killed nearly 1,100 Russians within 24 hours.
Both sides have run out of ammunition, heavy equipment, and skilled troops. The Russians appear to have had a lower supply. ISW reported that Wagner's ability "to complete a close Encirclement of Bakhmut" will be limited by losses in manpower, artillery, and equipment.
The reserves that both sides have available will determine what happens next. The Russian army recently moved the 2nd Motor Rifle Division, which is part of the once-elite 1st Guards Tank Army, into the forest 25 miles north-east of Bakhmut.
A Russian motor-rifle unit should have thousands of soldiers and hundreds of tanks and fighting vehicles. The 2nd MRD, as all 1st GTA units in 2022, is likely to be a shell of itself after suffering back-toback defeats around Kyiv, Kharkiv, and other places.
The U. K. Defense Ministry speculated that 1st GTA units could replace the hundreds of vehicles they lost with 60-year old, obsolete T-62 tanks that were taken out of long-term storage by the Kremlin.
The Ukrainians, on the other hand, have deliberately withheld many of their newest brigades while also reequipping veteran bragdes with Western-made tanks, fighting vehicles, and other equipment. The 4th Tank Brigade is the first Ukrainian unit that deployed German-made Leopard 2 tanks.
These new and reequipped Ukrainian formations will likely lead Kyiv's spring counteroffensive. A counteroffensive that could strike the Russians when they are weakest: after having lost thousands of lives and irreplaceable weapons trying to surround Bakhmut, and failing so far.