Ukrainian commanders say that Russia exhausted all its reserves on Bakhmut

By | March 30, 2023

The New York Times reports:

Hidden in the bowels of an unmarked building, set well back from the fighting, a command center directing operations in the city of Bakhmut was high-tech and humming. Soldiers monitored video screens with live feeds of destroyed buildings and a cratered battlefield.

Six weeks after coming to help defend Bakhmut, the men of the Adam Tactical Group, one of Ukraine’s most effective battle units, were quietly confident they had turned the tide against Russian troops trying to encircle and capture it.

“The enemy exhausted all its reserves,” the commander, Col. Yevhen Mezhevikin, 40, said on Tuesday, straddling a chair as artillery, air defense and intelligence-gathering teams worked around him.

Through wave after wave of Russian assault and tenacious Ukrainian defense, Bakhmut has, over eight months, become a central battlefield of Russia’s invasion despite limited strategic significance.

Russia has lost extraordinary numbers of troops in the battle, and Ukraine large numbers, too, and as casualties have mounted, so has the political symbolism of the city. Kremlin officials have described it as a necessary prize in the campaign to seize Ukraine’s Donbas region. To Ukraine, it has become an important line to hold, both to whittle down Russia’s forces and to deprive them of a victory.

But now, Colonel Mezhevikin said, the Russian assaults have slowed and the imminent threat of encirclement has been thwarted. “The density of assaults dropped by several times,” he said. “Before, they could assault in all directions simultaneously and in groups of not less than 20, 30 or 40 people, but gradually it is dying down.”

The commander’s description aligned with those of Ukraine’s most senior military commander, Gen. Valery Zaluzhnyi, and his commander of ground forces in the east, Gen. Oleksandr Syrsky. Both have said in recent days that the situation of Bakhmut was stabilizing, even with heavy fighting for some Ukrainian units.

On Thursday, the General Staff of Ukraine’s military acknowledged on Facebook that Russia was “having partial success” in its attempts to take the city, without further detail. But it added that Ukraine’s forces continued to hold the city and “repel numerous enemy attacks.” [Continue reading…]