Russian Strategy to Capture Bakhmut is Working
Ukraine and Russia are engaged in a tight battle over Bakhmut. No one is willing to yield.
Ukraine is not ready to give up because it will end their winning streak. Russia has thrown everything at this battle because it is determined to change the narrative that territorial gains are way past the Russian military’s capacity.
As the six-month attritional war for Bakhmut has gradually evolved into a do-or-die battle between Russia and Ukraine, victory will bring fresh benefits for the winner.
Putin ordered a partial mobilization in September 2022 after losing tens of thousands of soldiers in Ukraine. However, the rate at which Russia keeps losing soldiers in Ukraine has forced the Russian army into a non-stop recruitment drive.
“Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu unveiled a proposal in December to increase the country’s military personnel to 1.5 million by 2026, up from 1.1 million now”. In a country with 140 million citizens, forcing a million to fight in Ukraine is not an impossible dream. However, it will be easier to achieve if people believe Russia can win the war.
Consequently, Russia is willing to stake everything in Bahkmut, since victory will provide a launchpad for recruitment and put some pressure on Ukraine’s western allies.
What is happening?
“The head of Russia’s Wagner private military company has claimed that its fighters, who have used ruthless tactics to try to advance in eastern Ukraine in recent weeks, have captured the village of Klishchiivka, a Ukrainian stronghold southwest of the key city of Bakhmut.
The loss of the village could imperil Ukraine’s ability to hold onto Bakhmut by severing supply lines to the city. Bakhmut has been a focal point of Russian attacks over the recent months as Russia continues its push to capture all of the Donbas area of eastern Ukraine. The city has also become a symbol of Ukrainian resistance”.