War in Ukraine: Russian army painfully takes up initiative

Taking advantage of their numerical superiority, the Russian forces now exert pressure on the entire Donbass front. And Moscow hovers the threat of a new offensive of unknown magnitude.

by Emmanuel Grynszpan

The Russian army is gradually going back in offensive posture in Ukraine, anticipating a difficult spring because of the influx of Western armored vehicles and combat tanks delivered to kyiv.

The rhythm of artillery and combined assaults increases significantly since mid-January on the entire front line of Donbass, Vouhledar (south-east of Donetsk) to Svatove, in the Louhansk region . Or some 250 kilometers head-on, where the Ukrainian army manages with unequal success to contain daily attacks.

In southern Donbass, on the side of Vouhledar, two brigades from the Russian navy have suffered heavy losses for territorial gains counting in a few hundred meters. “The Ukrainian forces were able to counter Russian attacks in part thanks to quality Western weapons, such as the French Canon Caesar,” said a note from the group of military experts Conflict Intelligence Team (CIT).

An assault on the mercenaries of the Wagner group

The Ukrainian defense continues to be fierce, including where it is exposed to a very higher Russian fire. Although Marïnka, a Satellite city of Donetsk, was entirely shaved by artillery and aviation, the advance of Russian troops remains minimal.

On the other hand, the Russians have progressed to the west and north of Bakhmout, forming a pincer cutting the main supply routes of the city. The assault has been led for seven months by the mercenaries of the Wagner group, essentially recruited in Russian prisons. They have received the reinforcement for a month of two regiments of paratroopers and a motorized brigade of the Russian regular army.

A debate is engaged between the Ukrainian supporters of the maximum wear and tear of the Russian assault troops – whose infantry has undergone enormous losses since the start of the assault, in July 2022 – and those of a withdrawal Tactic towards more advantageous positions, to preserve the lives of Ukrainian soldiers as much as possible. The commander of the land forces of the Ukrainian army, Oleksandr Syrsky, recalled on February 6 that “Bakhmout was prepared for a long -term defense, thanks to the heights and hills conducive to this. This is why the city is a impregnable fortress, where more than a thousand enemies, including from their best units, have already died “.

But most military experts believe that a Bakhmout retirement is inevitable. For reserve colonel Oleg Jdanov, close to the Ukrainian staff, “if the enemy continues to progress west of Bakhmout, to Ivanivske, then we will have to withdraw on the heights”.

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/Media reports cited above.