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Hotel Atlantic in Bakhmut city (Donetsk region of Ukraine) after Russian shelling or bombardment in the morning of 27 July 2022. (Source: State Emergency Service of Ukraine/Wikimedia Commons)
Sergei Shoigu, the Minister of Defense of Russia, has revealed the rationale behind their deployment of forces for extended periods to Bakhmut, an industrial city in the Donetsk area of Ukraine. This is the first time he has explained the objective of this endeavor.
Pravda reported that Russia’s Minister of Defense, Shoigu, stated that the Russian Armed Forces could make substantial progress within Ukraine if Bakhmut is taken.
Bakhmut has been the site of some of the fiercest confrontations ever since Russia initiated its full-blown invasion of Ukraine early last year. Fighting between Russian and Ukrainian troops near the city is becoming increasingly violent as Moscow strives to gain its first noteworthy victory on the battleground since the summer of 2022.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, a close associate of Vladimir Putin, established the Wagner Group. This paramilitary organization has taken a prominent role in the Russian Bakhmut offensive alongside its conventional military forces.
The defense minister emphasized the military significance of Bakhmut, pointing to it as a crucial defense center for the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the Donbas region. Furthermore, he highlighted that the city is a pivotal junction for highways leading to neighboring strategic cities, such as Kramatorsk and Slovyansk.
Shoigu declared that by getting the situation in hand, there would be more significant opportunities for the Armed Forces of Ukraine to make further offensive operations.
Keeping a Grip on Ukraine
Ukraine is continuing to endure and remain steadfast in the face of the numerous challenges that it is facing.
In response to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s declaration that his forces would not pull out of the city, he made a statement.
During his nightly address on Monday, Zelensky explained that his highest-ranking officers had suggested that it would be better to fortify the city’s defenses instead of retreating.
“The entire command came to a unanimous agreement on the matter. No alternative views were present. Therefore, I requested the commander-in-chief to identify the correct forces to assist our personnel in Bakhmut,” Zelensky relayed.
Gerashchenko, a consultant to the Minister of Internal Affairs in Ukraine, stressed the importance of Bakhmut staying in Ukrainian hands.
On February 17, he informed Newsweek that Bakhmut is a stronghold enabling them to prepare their forces for “de-occupation”–a potential consequence of a thriving city defense, in which the Ukrainians could begin a counter-offensive.
He commented that the Russian Army had sustained massive casualties and losses of military resources in the effort to take Bakhmut but had been unsuccessful in their attempts over a prolonged period.
Gerashchenko described Bakhmut as having a “huge symbolic value” for Russia and asserted that “the situation there is the most complicated at the moment.” However, the defenders remain steadfast in their duties.
Analysts have speculated that the city of Bakhmut needs more strategic worth. However, its capture by Russia could be a means of furthering its goal of occupying the entire Donbas region–which was one of Vladimir Putin’s objectives when he initiated his military action in February of last year.
The Bahkmut Stronghold
The city of Bakhmut is often referred to as a ‘fortress’ because of its strength and fortification. This is due to its location in a strategic area surrounded by mountains and rivers, making it a challenging target to conquer. As a result, the city has been a stronghold for many centuries and continues to be a safe haven for its inhabitants.
A diplomat from Russia has declared that the seizure of Bakhmut will establish the direction of the conflict.
Dmitry Polyanskiy, Russia’s first deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, told Newsweek that accomplishing President Putin’s goals in Ukraine would be easier to attain by taking control of Bakhmut.
Polyanskiy stated on Tuesday that the liberation of Donbas could not be achieved without taking control of Bakhmut, which he described as a “fortress” that is a component of a heavily protected defensive line. He added that this is one of the duties of the military campaign.
“This city is no ordinary place,” he declared. “Its underground passageways and defensive walls make it an exceptionally tough target, yet I’m confident that we will prevail.”
In an interview with CNN on Tuesday, Zelensky stated that if Bakhmut falls, Russia could gain access to other towns in the Donetsk region.
He explained that, following the fall of Bakhmut, the Russians would have an open path to reach other Ukrainian towns in the Donetsk area, such as Kramatorsk and Sloviansk. He concluded by saying that this was why their troops were stationed there.
On Wednesday, Prigozhin declared that the entirety of the east side of Bakhmut is presently in Russian hands.
The previous day, RIA Novosti, a Russian state-run news agency, quoted Yan Gagin, a consultant and representative of the acting leader of the Donetsk People’s Republic, announcing that Moscow’s troops had near-total control of Bakhmut.
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