The city of Bakhmut in Eastern Ukraine has been the site of intense fighting this year. In March, Russian forces launched an offensive to take control of the city, but Ukrainian troops have been able to hold their ground and reclaim the region. The battle for Bakhmut has been long and challenging, with both sides suffering heavy losses. However, Ukraine is now in a position to reclaim the region and end the conflict.

The battle for Bakhmut has been raging since last year when Russia began its offensive on the city. Since then, both sides have reported heavy losses as they fight to control the region. However, despite these losses, Ukrainian forces have managed to hold their ground and prevent Russian forces from gaining a foothold in Bakhmut. This success is due in part to support from other countries, such as Finland, who are sending fighter jets to help defend against Russian aggression.

Russia’s Wagner Group mercenaries have been leading the charge for the Russians, while Ukrainian forces have relied on artillery and air support to repel the invasion. However, the most recent attacks have led to massive losses for the Russian Army, according to the Institute of the Study of War. 

“US Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff General Mark Milley reported on March 29 that the Wagner Group has around 6,000 professional personnel and 20,000 to 30,000 recruits, mostly convicts, fighting in the Bakhmut area. US National Security Council Spokesperson John Kirby reported in late December 2022 that the Wagner Group had 50,000 personnel in Ukraine including 10,000 contractors and 40,000 convict recruits. The Wagner Group has deployed the vast majority of its force to support the offensive to capture Bakhmut, and it is likely that the difference between Kirby’s 50,000 figure in Ukraine and Milley’s 26,000 to 36,000 figure in the Bakhmut area is the result of casualties from Wagner’s attritional offensive on Bakhmut. Kirby reported on February 17 that the Wagner Group had suffered 30,000 casualties, with 9,000 dead, in operations in Ukraine.”

On March 30, US Gen. Mark Milley spoke to US lawmakers at a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Russia’s military forces in Bakhmut. He described it as a “slaughter-fest” for Russian forces and warned that if Bakhmut fell to Russian forces, President Vladimir Putin would “sell this victory to the West.”

“They are suffering an enormous amount of casualties in the Bakhmut area. The Ukrainians are inflicting a lot of death and destruction on these guys.”

Milley added that the desperate attempt from the Russians has been very costly so far.