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Russian troops near Bakhmut likely ‘battle-weary’ as Ukraine advances, ISW says


As Ukraine’s counteroffensive in the southeast advances toward Bakhmut, Russian troops are likely beginning to “weary” after a series of Kiev victories, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported.

Ukraine made major advances near Bakhmut last week, including reconquering the villages of Klishchiivka and Andriivka, south of the town. Kiev launched its counter-offensive to reconquer lands occupied by Russia more than three months ago, and although the campaign is progressing more slowly than expected, there are signs that Ukraine is beginning to wear down Russia on the lines of forehead.

The ISW noted in its latest assessment of the war in Ukraine that the battle for Klishchiivka and Andrivvka likely left Russia “battle-weary” in the region, “and Ukraine’s capture of two settlements defending a line of Key Russian communications (land line of communication) supporting Bakhmut indicate that these forces will likely struggle to replenish their combat strength and defend against any further Ukrainian offensive activity south of Bakhmut. »

A Ukrainian tank crew member looks on from a gun turret during a military exercise June 27, 2023, in Donetsk Oblast. Ukraine’s recent advances around Bakhmut may be a sign that Russian troops stationed in the region are becoming “battle-weary,” according to the Institute for the Study of War.
Viktor Fridshon/Global Images Ukraine via Getty

“Ukraine’s liberation of two villages for which Russian forces were fighting hard could represent a serious degradation of the Russian units defending them,” the ISW said.

Ukrainian military spokesperson Illia Yevlash said Sunday that Kiev’s liberation of Klishchiivka would allow Ukraine to control Russian land lines of communication that currently supply Russian forces grouped around the Bakhmut region. The ISW said Monday that it was unable to independently verify the strength of Russian defensive lines around the city, “although Russian forces likely fortified their defense lines near Bakhmut less heavily than in southern Ukraine.

The ISW added, however, that there were no immediate signs that Ukraine’s success would “portend a higher rate of Ukrainian advance south of Bakhmut”, and noted that defense positions Russian forces west of the T0513, a highway that runs through Bakhmut, could “likely continue to present challenges to Ukrainian forces in the region.”

The General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces reported on Monday that Russia had lost more than 3,180 troops over the past week, bringing Moscow’s total to around 272,940 troops since the war began in February 2022. News week However, it has not been able to independently verify this report and Russia does not often comment on estimates of its own losses.

U.S. officials estimated last month that the total number of troops killed or wounded on both sides of the war was approaching 500,000, according to a report from the The New York Times. At the time, Russian military losses were estimated to approach 300,000, but officials noted that the number of casualties was difficult to estimate.

News week contacted the Russian Defense Ministry for comment Monday evening by email.


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