Bakhmut is tactical city, new Russian offensives near Vuhledar and Zaporizhzhia are possible: weekly military summary
Bakhmut is not a strategic city, but a tactical one. It demonstrates the ability of AFU to hold the Russian forces in frontline where the enemy is trying to turn tactical successes into a strategic victory
Ukrainian military analyst, CEO of Defense Express military expert group, Serhiy Zgurets has shared his latest assessment of the frontline situation.
The issue of holding Bakhmut remains a military one
Bakhmut is still on the defensive. On March 3, Ground Forces Commander Syrskyi came to the city again. He held a meeting there and identified ways to solve the current problems. Earlier it was decided to reinforce this area with reserves, so there is no reason to believe that the Ukrainian Armed Forces are planning to leave Bakhmut. The situation is complicated, the enemy is trying to advance from the south, north and east.
In the north, the situation is the most difficult – Russian troops are trying to move towards Khromove after capturing Yahidne and Berkhivka. This movement is aimed at cutting the supply line to the town. On March 2, enemy artillery destroyed one of the bridges on the road to Khromove, but according to our information, this did not cause any major consequences. There are detours around the destruction and the supply of Bakhmut continues. The Ukrainian Armed Forces are holding the defense around the entire perimeter, although in the east, where the fighting is already in the city, our military blew up one of the bridges over the Bakhmutka River to hinder the enemy's movement. Earlier in the south, a dam of one of the reservoirs was blown up, which significantly halted the enemy's advance.
Now the Ukrainian Armed Forces continue to hold back the enemy in the north and east, and in the south there are even counterattacks in the area of Ivanivske. The enemy is being pushed back there, trying to reach the road between Kostyantynivka and Bakhmut. Despite the complexity of the situation, the possibility of holding the city remains, which is evidenced by the arrival of Syrskyi.
The Ukrainian Armed Forces perform several functions in this area of the front. First, they deplete enemy troops and force them to use up ammunition. Second, they hold the defense line so that it does not fall apart. Thirdly, they create conditions for improving the arrangement of another defense line that already exists beyond Bakhmut. All these three components are being fulfilled, and the reserves that have arrived are helping to fulfill one of these functions.
The issue of holding Bakhmut remains a military one. Either we hold this section of the frontline, having the capabilities to do so, or we move to other positions and have to get involved in the same format of fighting as here. One of the main issues is more ammunition. This is the only factor that I hear very often when I talk to the military on the line – they say that they need more large caliber, mortars and strike weapons.
We are now diverting and destroying quite capable units of the Russian army here. The dynamics have not changed significantly in a few days. There is an open area of about five kilometers. The Russians cannot cover this distance – our defensive actions using artillery are quite effective. We need more artillery and shells – this is the main obstacle to the enemy's advance.
The main forces are concentrated in the 20 km area around Bakhmut, and troops in other areas are limited to the potential that is directed at Bakhmut. The situation near other towns is a derivative of the actions around Bakhmut. I think that as long as the Chasiv Yar – Khromove – Bakhmut nexus holds and secures the city, other areas are much more illusory for the enemy in terms of intensifying hostilities.
Bakhmut is not a strategic city, but a tactical one. It demonstrates the ability of the Ukrainian army to hold the enemy at the frontline, where the enemy is trying to turn tactical successes into a strategic victory, but this is not happening.
Russian offensive is stuck in the Ukrainian defense line
I think that from March 4-6, the Russians will again intensify their actions near Vuhledar. This is fundamentally important for them. We need to secure supply routes near Volnovakha and somehow push our units. Vuhledar is a short distance from Mariupol and Melitopol. Now the brigade that was defeated has been taken for recovery – an assault battalion of 200 people is being formed on its base. New units are being added and reserves are being accumulated. We will see this show with the destruction of Russian tanks and armored vehicles again in a week. They will not leave this town, because they are straightforward and not flexible, and we will take advantage of this.
There are two other areas near Avdiivka where the Russian army is trying to advance. There is an accumulation of enemy forces in the depths. They are trying to surround Avdiivka like Bakhmut, but there is no success there. We can say that this whole Russian offensive, which has been going on for over a month, has hit our defense line in all areas, and only Bakhmut looks the most critical. In other areas, we are holding the enemy at bay. I can predict that in the next 2-3 weeks the enemy will use all its reserves in all 5 directions and we will see more intense actions there.
Luhansk and the south: the front line remains unchanged, Russians are amassing forces near Zaporizhzhia
In the Luhansk direction, the front line remains unchanged, although the fighting is intense. The accumulation of manpower and the enemy in the Svatove-Kreminna area is quite significant. The enemy continues to try to oust Ukraine’s forces beyond the Oskil River. There are risks of forces amassing in the Valuiki zone (Russia), where certain reserves are stationed and entering this area.
In Kreminna, the fighting continues, and the Russian troops are trying to use modern equipment – Proryv tanks and Terminator armored tank support vehicles. But there is still no change in the front line there. Nothing is changing in the area of Bilohorivka either. It is important for us – if the enemy continues to advance towards Bakhmut, there is a possibility of flank strikes towards the enemy group that will move towards Sloviansk and Kramatorsk.
In the south, there was no particular dynamics, except for the destruction of warehouses and other facilities, which is done on a regular basis. These are strikes against enemy targets, which are not always reported by the General Staff, but they are regular. This is a reflection of the strategy that the Ukrainian Armed Forces have implemented on the right bank of the Dnipro River. Now it is being transferred to the areas that will become the main areas for Ukraine’s offensive in the future.
However, the enemy is also trying to increase the number of forces in the area of Orikhiv and Huliaipole. It is possible that in parallel with the intensification of actions in Vuhledar, they will also try to conduct certain offensive actions here to divert attention from other areas, in particular from Bakhmut. And not to allow us to maneuver by force.
Situation in Belarus and the Russian Federation
Belarusian guerrillas showed a video of a drone landing on an A-50 long-range radar detection and control aircraft. We don't know for sure the extent of the aircraft damage, but it was sent back to the manufacturer. This means that the damage is significant and it limits the spying activities of this aircraft in coordinating Russian attacks.
Regarding the situation in the Bryansk region, I think the Russians got their cards mixed up. They were preparing a false flag action, which was supposed to be associated with victims on the Russian side. We understand that they were indeed preparing a meeting of the Security Council and a speech by Putin. But it all came to a screeching halt because the Russian Volunteer Corps was ahead of the Russians. This shows that we know very well what the enemy is planning and that we will be able to protect ourselves from such challenges in the future. It is difficult to understand what the Russian Federation can do: we see that the enemy is cunning, but this does not mean that we cannot outplay them.