February 6, 2023

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Russia invests 'disproportionately expensive' offensive to capture Bakhmut despite low strategic advantage: British intelligence

Russia invests ‘disproportionately expensive’ offensive to capture Bakhmut despite low strategic advantage: British intelligence

Russia fight for Bakhmut city It became “disproportionately costly” for Moscow which despite throwing “significant” amounts of its army, capturing the city would gain few strategic advantages if successful officials said Saturday.

The British Ministry of Defense warned that Russian forces were trying to outflank the town and achieved “small” advantages on the southern axis.

But the ministry also estimated that despite the huge amount of resources thrown into the fight for the city in Donetsk, Russia would gain few strategic advantages if it succeeded in capturing Bakhmut.

Ukrainian tanks are seen on the front line in Pakhmut, Donetsk, Ukraine on November 27, 2022.
(Diego Herrera Carcedo/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

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“Russia has prioritized Bakhmut as its main offensive effort since early August 2022,” the ministry said in an intelligence update. “Capturing the city will have limited operational value.”

Defense officials estimate that capturing the city could enable Russia to better “threaten” other large metropolitan areas such as Kramatorsk and Sloviansk, both of which lie north of the city, but have questioned the cost to Moscow.

“The campaign has been disproportionately costly in relation to these potential gains,” the intelligence update said. “There is a realistic possibility that Bakhmut’s arrest has become primarily a symbolic political goal for Russia.”

Ukrainian soldiers watch after firing mortars at the Toritsk front line in Donbass, Ukraine, December 2, 2022.

Ukrainian soldiers watch after firing mortars at the Toritsk front line in Donbass, Ukraine, December 2, 2022.
(Agency Narciso Contreras/Anadolu via Getty Images)

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next Ukrainian success in mid-September As Russian forces were driven out of the neighboring Kharkiv region to the west, Ukrainian forces pushed back Moscow’s forces to the east through northern Donetsk.

This has pushed the fighting away from regions such as Kramatorsk and Sloviansk, although around Bakhmut the fighting has intensified.

Unverified videos circulating on social media show a scorched earth reminiscent of World War II images, blackened from months of continuous artillery fire as the notorious Wagner Group allegedly spearheads Russia’s war effort.

The source described the fighting as a “meat grinder” to the Moscow Times this week, and Ukraine’s defense ministry said Bakhmut was witnessing some of the toughest fighting in Ukraine right now.

Donetsk, one of the regions illegally annexed by Russia earlier this year, has seen continuous fighting since the war began nine months ago.

Armed members of the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) fire howitzer shells at the Bakhmut border front in Donetsk, Ukraine on December 1, 2022.

Armed members of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) fire howitzer shells at the Bakhmut border front in Donetsk, Ukraine on December 1, 2022.
(Leon Klein/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

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Western officials worry that the winter months could prolong the war further and give Russian President Vladimir Putin the time he needs to regroup his forces, despite the heavy losses Moscow is believed to have suffered.

Putin’s refusal to withdraw from Ukraine has prompted the United States and its European allies to try to starve Moscow’s war chest by any means possible, including hitting oil exports, Supplying Ukraine with military weapons continues and funding initiatives to conserve electricity and water in Ukraine during the winter.

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