Withdrawal from Bakhmut will not affect Ukraine’s defense, activation of AFU’s artillery, Russian missile terror: weekly military summary
The Ukrainian Armed Forces hold about 10% of Bakhmut – the Russian troops can push the Ukrainian army out of the city with the help of their reserves. This will in no way destroy the system of the Ukrainian defense
Ukrainian military analyst, CEO of Defense Express military expert group, Serhiy Zgurets has shared his assessment of the frontline situation in Ukraine.
The Ukrainian Armed Forces hold a tenth of Bakhmut
Russian forces are trying to push Ukrainian troops out of Bakhmut. The Ukrainian Armed Forces continue to hold extremely important sections of the front. According to various estimates, Ukrainian units hold about 10% of the city. Buildings under Russians' control sometimes come under Ukrainian control. Active fighting is going on for every house.
The dynamics in Bakhmut have several nuances. The most disturbing is that the Russian enemy is trying to push through to the intersection of two roads. The one that leads to Khromove and the one that leads to Ivanivske. These are Yuvileyna and Tchaikovskyi streets in the city. This is the intersection where the biggest battles are taking place. There is a complex of tall buildings nearby that Russia is trying to seize. The capture of this intersection makes it difficult to use the main roads. So far they are working, but the route from Khromove is suffering from Russian shelling. Ukrainian brigades are operating there to repel Russia's attempts to cross the road, and so far we have been able to repel them. However, logistics cargo is being transported via other routes. The Ukrainian army also uses dirt roads between these main routes, but they are destroyed due to rain and the movement of tracked vehicles on them.
If the Russians enter Bakhmut, they will be trapped
Ukraine’s leadership is still focused on deterring the Russian enemy. If Ukraine has to gradually leave the city, I think the main line of defense will shift several kilometers back. The shelling of the enemy will continue from Chasiv Yar. Bakhmut has been held for ten months already. It has fulfilled its military and political mission completely. It is fulfilling its humanitarian mission by not allowing the enemy to move further.
The Ukrainian troops are retreating slowly, and the Russian forces are trying to encircle them. The entire power of the world's second army is concentrated on a small tactical section of the front. Ukraine manages to destroy the most combat-ready units here – the Wagner PMC fighters, paratroopers. This symbiosis did not give any significant progress for the Russian Federation.
Outside of Bakhmut, the invading Russian forces tried to advance on Sloviansk. There are risks of movement towards Siversk if not all Russian forces are tied up in Bakhmut to ensure the group's encirclement. This is only possible if the enemy has sufficient forces and means. The battles for Bakhmut show that the potential of the Russian army is depleted. If they throw reserves, then in the best case, they will allow Ukrainian units to be displaced from those 10% of the territory of the city. But this does not mean that this will affect the defense line. Other lines, which are towards Kramatorsk, will allow Ukraine to hold the Russian enemy, and there will be no destruction of the system of these defense lines.
I think they have a political task to push Ukrainian troops out of the city buildings. All the previous buildings were destroyed. Then declare a political victory by May 9, if they have time. Then the Russians are trapped. Ukraine's artillery will destroy them with a barrage of fire, hold the enemy's advance and grind them down in Bakhmut itself, where there are few buildings left to hold the line. I think it will be a systemic trap.
All the flanks in the city are not closing due to the countermeasures of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, despite the fact that Russia has reinforced these areas with paratroopers. There is a risk of "crushing" the flanks, as Prigozhin says. There was a statement by the 10th Brigade spokesman about the possibility of surprises. It is holding back the enemy's advance on Siversk. Threats of frontal attacks remain. The main task of Ukrainian troops is to hold the flanks and continue to destroy the Russian forces in the Bakhmut area. The Russians' superiority in numbers may force Ukraine's units to withdraw, but this will not affect the defense.
The new Russian offensive in Donbas has not yielded much results
Avdiivka remains no less of a hot spot than Bakhmut. In recent days, the Russian army has been trying to break through to Sievierne and Nevelske in the south, but the Ukrainian side has been undertaking counter-attacking actions there. Despite reserves, Russia's advancement or encirclement is not being realized. Avdiivka stands strong and powerful, although the Russian enemy is actively using artillery and aviation. The intensity of artillery use is comparable to that in Bakhmut – the enemy has brought up equipment, accumulated reserves, and is trying to push back Ukrainian units.
The situation in Marinka is similar. It is a reliable point of Ukraine’s defense. The town is destroyed. All attempts by the Russians to advance lead to nothing. They cannot move towards the settlement of Pobieda either. The nodes of Ukraine’s reliable resistance - Bakhmut, Marinka, Avdiivka, and Vuhledar demonstrate that despite the overwhelming numbers of the enemy, the presence of Ukraine’s forces and means allows Ukraine to restrain them for a long time. This second offensive in the Donbas does not lead to any significant results.
In the area of Kreminna, the dynamics have not changed. There is fighting in the forest around the town, the enemy is trying to advance. It can only be done with tracked vehicles because of the weather. This factor slows down the activity of hostilities, but it does not affect artillery and aviation. This area is difficult, but there are no changes on the front line.
The strikes of the Armed Forces of Ukraine sow panic among the Russians
We see an intensification of Ukraine’s artillery strikes on the left bank of the Dnipro River in the Kherson region, and we see strikes on the Russian enemy in the Zaporizhzhia region. This is actually a certain sign of the beginning of some dynamics. Which direction will be a priority in terms of a counteroffensive? No one knows this clearly at the moment. The plans are ambitious. Offensive actions can be activated along the entire front line. The Russian army begins to panic. When active strikes begin on their units in the Kherson region, they are forced to leave those areas. This is sowing panic among Russian war correspondents, who speak of a possible offensive by the Ukrainian Armed Forces by crossing the Dnipro. This is a difficult task, but let them consider all options, stretch the defense line. Panic among the ranks of the Russians is absolutely fine with Ukraine.
The missile attack on Uman is a manifestation of the Russian army's terrorist tendencies
The past two days have been distressing – first, a strike was delivered on Mykolaiv with Iskander-K missiles. These are the most modern missiles, and their quantity is limited for the Russian Federation. Their use against Mykolaiv looks irrational. It can be assumed that some newly manufactured samples were being tested for their capabilities. The strike on Uman is a manifestation of the terrorist inclinations of the Russian army, as it is unclear how the civilian residents could pose a threat to the military. In addition to the explanation that Russia is pursuing a policy of genocide against the Ukrainian people, which is confirmed by both military actions and these missile strikes. We know that 21 out of 23 Kh-101/Kh-555 missiles were shot down. A shot-down missile was found near Kyiv. Interestingly, it did not detonate, and its route was complex – through Sumy, Chernihiv, and Kyiv regions. These missiles may be launched to detect the location of air defense systems and create conditions for more thorough strikes. Ukraine’s air defense systems are now becoming stronger – we have received new models. The eternal battle of the sword and the shield will continue.