Espreso. Global

Situation in Bakhmut changes consistently, Storm Shadow is better than ATACMS: military results of week 

13 May, 2023 Saturday

Ukraine’s Defense Forces are more optimistic, turning Bakhmut into a systemic trap for the Russians. Ukraine is destroying significant Russian forces without using reserves for the offensive. The situation around the city is changing consistently


Ukrainian military analyst, CEO of Defense Express military expert group, Serhiy Zgurets has shared his assessment of the frontline situation in Ukraine.

Bakhmut is becoming a systemic trap for the Russian soldiers

The Russian General Staff is in a certain fog of war, when there is no understanding of where the offensive will take place, so any actions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine are perceived there with panic. Panic is spreading and this is very good. This means that preparations for our large-scale spring and summer campaign are underway. The main focus of this week is Ukrainian counterattack in Bakhmut, which is aimed at making a significant difference. A lot of good news is coming from there.

The most positive changes took place on the northern and southern flanks of Bakhmut. In the north, the actions were aimed at pushing the Russians away from Khromove, there were offensives in the area of Bohdanivka, where Russian troops were moving. They were trying to control the road that runs along Chasiv Yar. This work was done well enough - the Russian forces were pushed back 600 metres, which is a considerable distance in these conditions. What Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner PMC, was so afraid of is happening there - the flanks that tried to surround the city are being broken by Ukrainian strikes.

For 10 months, the enemy had been trying to surround Bakhmut, and within a few days Ukrainian units knocked them out of the heights for which the Wagner forces paid a high price. Ukrainian troops reach the dominant heights. The situation for the Russian forces is becoming a mirror image - now we will continue to put pressure on the enemy, destroying its forces in the city. Bakhmut is turning into a trap. We are talking about the dynamics of the northern flank. These changes are quite rapid. 

The situation is similar in the south of the city. The Ukrainian Armed Forces pushed the enemy towards Klishchiyivka and repelled the Russians from Ivanivske. The left flank is also beginning to crumple. In general, preconditions are being created to cut off the group of troops in the Klishchiyivka area. It seems to be a short distance, but all the actions of the Defense Forces allow us to take all these measures and cut off this left (southern) claw. Thanks to the coordinated actions of the offensive units and artillery, we managed to do enough in a short period of time, but we paid a heavy price for it. The crushing of these flanks will affect the situation in Bakhmut itself. On our side, the amount of artillery and ammunition we can use has increased. These are both Soviet and NATO calibres. Ukraine’s artillery is working extremely well here. This ensures that these flanks are crushed.

Because of the situation on the flanks, the routes to supply the city will breathe more freely. This simplifies the logistics of the groups in Bakhmut. The city itself is controlled by Ukrainian troops by 10%. This is the western part of the urban development zone. The fighting is active there. Wagner's fighters are actively training there. It seems that the Russian army is taking measures to ensure that the Wagner mercenaries are destroyed here. It seems that the interests of Ukraine and the Russian Federation have coincided here - the Wagner troops will find death in the Bakhmut area. The fighting continues in the high-rise buildings area. It is difficult to say exactly where the demarcation line is now - some buildings are changing hands. 

The general background of the fighting is somewhat different than a week ago. Ukrainian guys are more optimistic, they are turning Bakhmut into a systemic trap for the Russian army. The enemy also realises this. We are now restraining and destroying significant enemy forces with regular brigades without using reserves for offensive operations. Some of the brigades have been in the city for a year. Conceptually, the situation around the city is changing consistently. This immediately generates panic in the Russian troops. 

The Ukrainian Armed Forces are shaping a battlefield for an offensive - there is a sense of Ukraine's readiness

There is a certain revitalization in all parts of the frontline. This is the so-called shaping of the battlefield - they are checking what the enemy can do, where their weaknesses may be. The degree of tension is rising, and where possible, tactical offensive actions are taking place.

In the area of Vuhledar, Ukrainian troops advanced beyond the Shaitanka River. It used to be the Russian defence line. This section of the frontline is beginning to come to life and it is a major concern for the enemy. It is 80 kilometres from Vuhledar to the Azov Sea coast. The area is seen by both sides as promising for an offensive by the Armed Forces.

Zelenskyy said that the counteroffensive should wait. He said that all the equipment had not yet arrived. According to the president, we can start with the brigades that we have, but it will be associated with greater losses. I think this is an absolutely correct message, because the point that time is working for Russia is not entirely accurate. At most, digging their trenches more is all they can spend it on. For Ukraine, time means increasing the combat capability of its units, practising interactions and waiting for equipment. Potentially and internally, there is a feeling that the Ukrainian Armed Forces are ready for offensive actions. 

It is not the trenches that protect and defend themselves, but the soldiers. These people in the trenches are being destroyed by Ukrainian artillery and they surrender to drones. We understand the enemy's situation - it does not provide the level of combat capability that suggests that these trenches will help hold the defence line.

Different weapons are a challenge for the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Storm Shadow missiles will change the situation on the battlefield

The supply of a significant number of weapons is a serious challenge for Ukraine. It is a "zoo" of weapons that need to be combined to make it all work. Each of them needs to be repaired with separate spare parts, provided with different fuel and lubricants. There are challenges for logistics. I don't think any NATO army has ever faced such a challenge as conducting a combined offensive operation with very different weapons. To ensure interaction, high-quality communication. This will be a historic thing in terms of using this multivariate arsenal that is available to Ukraine.  We have to integrate it. This or that model is not a "silver bullet," but it is Ukraine's ability to ensure integration, synergy and results on the battlefield.

We are at a historic stage - the delivery of Storm Shadow missiles changes the situation on the battlefield. The British are once again demonstrating a proactive approach to combat - we remember the story of the tanks, which became a challenge for the European community. The Americans do not provide their ATACMS with a range of 300 kilometres. To be honest, Storm Shadow is better than ATACMS. This system is more accurate - it is guaranteed to hit the target because of the presence of several guaranteed guidance systems. These missiles destroyed both Saddam Hussein's and Gaddafi's troops, and they fought in Syria. Ukrainian fighters will probably or definitely be re-equipped for these missiles. The range is up to 300 kilometres. They will be used to destroy sensitive and important targets. I am not sure that we will get thousands of missiles. A few hundred will be a good indicator. I think they will be used to destroy the airfields where Russian aircraft are based, which will deter our offensive. They will also destroy storage bases and, theoretically, strike the Crimean bridge. Their accuracy allows them to destroy the railroad tracks on it. I think this is one of the next targets after the offensive. I hope that we will take on Crimea immediately after the campaign on land. 

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