Fighting for the city of Bakhmut continues.
Heavy fighting has been going on around the city of Bakhmut in the Donbass region for weeks. Russian troops keep shelling the city and have launched a major offensive to conquer it. The Ukrainian troops have so far successfully defended the city, which once had a population of 74,000.
Now the hostilities are likely to have reached their peak, reports the Institute for the Study of War (ISW). All signs would indicate that the so-called culmination point has now been reached.
From this point, the Russian troops can no longer continue their large-scale attack on the city. Instead, the army of Russian President Vladimir Putin (70) would have to “take a defensive stance or insert an operational pause”. According to the ISW experts, it is unlikely that the Russian troops could achieve “operationally significant victories” in the region, even if they continue the heavy shelling.
Continued high-level visits
According to the ISW, the Russian attacks have not had a major impact on the Ukrainian defense. High-ranking officials are still able to visit Bachmut with practically no restrictions. The ISW cites, among other things, the visit of the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (44) as evidence. He traveled to the embattled city shortly before Christmas.
Intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov (36) has also appeared in the past few days. Budanov was therefore only about 600 meters from the Russian front line.
In an interview with the BBC, the intelligence chief also confirmed that the situation at the front has frozen. “It’s no longer possible, the situation is deadlocked,” he reveals.
According to Budanov, Russia is stuck in a dead end and the army lacks opportunities to advance further. However, it is also not possible for Ukraine to recapture areas occupied by Russia. The last major reconquest was in November, when Ukraine captured the strategically important city of Cherson.
What role does Belarus play?
Above all, the Ukrainian troops lack resources. “We cannot comprehensively defeat them in all directions,” said Budanov. The head of the secret service therefore called for more weapons from the West. “We very much look forward to new arms shipments and the arrival of more advanced weapons.”
A few weeks ago, Ukraine warned that Russia could launch a new major offensive in early 2023. A large-scale ground attack on the capital Kyiv cannot be ruled out either.
In the past few days, there have also been increasing signs that Belarus, an ally of Russia, could also become involved in the war. “At the moment, however, we see no signs that an attack from Belarus could be imminent,” says Budanov. The Belarusian population does not support direct intervention in the Ukraine war. Budanov: “President Alexander Lukashenko (68) is currently trying everything to prevent a disaster for his country.” (zis)