ISW: The Ukrainian army is probably making a tactical retreat in Bakhmut

ISW: The Ukrainian army is probably making a tactical retreat in Bakhmut

ISW: Ukrainian army likely to carry out tactical step in Bakhmut

New drone footage shows the war-torn Ukrainian city of Bakhmut.

Kyiv – The Ukrainian army in Bakhmut is likely conducting a limited tactical retreat, the US Institute for the Study of War (ISW) writes in its latest analysis of the fighting in Ukraine. At the same time, however, he adds that it is too early to assess whether the Ukrainians are planning a complete withdrawal from this eastern Ukrainian city.

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ISW: The Ukrainian army probably carried out a tactical step in Bakhmut

ISW: The Ukrainian army is likely to carry out tactics in Bakhmut ; ústup

ISW: The Ukrainian army probably carried out a tactical step in Bakhmut

ISW: Ukrainian army probably carried out tactics in Bakhmut ; ústup

Ukraine's defense of Bakhmut is strategically justified, according to ISW, because it consumes Russian human resources and equipment – unless Ukrainian forces suffer excessive losses. Bakhmut is currently one of the hotbeds of the war, and some of the heaviest fighting is taking place there in the conflict that Moscow unleashed a year ago with its invasion. There are reports of many dead or wounded on both sides.

“Ukrainian forces are unlikely to withdraw from Bakhmut all at once. And they may continue to withdraw by fighting to exhaust Russian forces through continued urban warfare,” writes the Institute for the Study of War, which also says it is unlikely that Russian invasion forces in fighting in the city quickly saw significant territorial gains. Defenders usually have the advantage in urban combat, writes ISW.

According to him, the urban fighting in Bakhmut can further disintegrate the already exhausted Russian forces, similar to what happened during the Ukrainian retreat by fighting from Severodonetsk and Lysychansk, which effectively ended Russian offensive operations in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions last summer. The Russian offensive to capture Bakhmut is likely to culminate regardless of whether the Russians capture the city or not, the institute added, noting that the Russian military will likely struggle to sustain any follow-up offensive operations for several months.

Russian offensives in the direction of Kupjansk, Svatove and Kreminna “are also not yielding any significant successes”, notes the ISW, according to which Russian forces appear to lack the combat power to sustain more than one simultaneous offensive. When the Russian effort around Bakhmut culminates – either before or after the capture of the city – Ukrainian defenders will likely have an opportunity to take the initiative and launch a counteroffensive, ISW believes.

Ukraine's General Staff in its regular morning operational briefing today stated that Russian soldiers are concentrating on conducting offensive operations in the directions of Kupjansk, Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdijivka and Shakhtarsk. According to him, Ukrainian defenders repelled over 95 enemy attacks in these regions. Similar claims by individual parties to the conflict cannot be immediately independently verified in the conditions of war.