It is becoming increasingly difficult for the Ukrainian army to defend Bakhmut, a small city in the east of the country where for months the Russian forces have been waging a very harsh war of attrition. From a military and strategic point of view, Bakhmut is not of enormous importance, but it is located on the road that leads to the most important Ukrainian cities of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk, and is an obligatory passage if the Russian army wants to advance. Moreover, it would be the first major victory for Russia in many months, after the several important defeats suffered in this war year.
Bakhmut is located in the Donetsk region, one of the four that Russia annexed last September with an illegal referendum, and is far from the two main fronts of the war (the one in the north-east and the one in the south). It is now largely uninhabited, after many inhabitants fled to escape the daily bombardments of the Russian army, but the Ukrainian soldiers are continuing to defend it strenuously. So far they have succeeded, but in recent days the situation has become more complicated.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Monday that Russia was trying to encircle Bakhmut and cut the links from which supplies arrive to the Ukrainian army in the city, a tactic already used in recent months in other parts of the country to bring opponents to their limits and force them to surrender.
But advancing into the city is not easy for the Russians, due to the quagmire that is created on the roads at this time of year due to the rains and the melting snow (what in Russia is called rasputitsa, and which has played a important in many other conflicts throughout history, from Napoleon’s Russian campaign to World War II). Also for this reason the Russian army is attacking with ever more insistence from a distance, constantly bombing the city and destroying the defensive positions of the Ukrainian soldiers.
– Read also: The first year of war in Ukraine may not be the last
In this regard, Zelensky has once again asked Western countries to supply Ukraine with military fighter planes, to better defend themselves against attacks and in turn attack the Russian army more effectively in the spring, when a new Ukrainian counter-offensive is expected.
At the moment, however, all Western governments have said they are against sending fighter planes to Ukraine, or at least have made it clear that it would be too complicated for technical and logistical reasons. “Our pilots, anti-aircraft units and other experts in our air force are doing a great job. But we will be able to best protect our skies when the taboo on aircraft is completely eliminated,” Zelensky said.
Leave a Reply