Russian Military Leaders Claim Bakhmut Is Under Their Control

Russian Military Leaders Claim Bakhmut Is Under Their Control

( – Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a military invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, but his attempt to reclaim this former Soviet state actually goes back nearly a decade to 2014. That was when he “annexed” the Crimea region of the country and began backing separatists in the Donbas oblast (often translated as province), where leaders loyal to him are claiming they have captured the eastern part of a relatively unknown but apparently strategically important city in what the Russians contend is the Donetsk People‚Äôs Republic (DPR).

Fighting in Eastern Ukraine

Bakhmut (called Artyomovsk by the Russians) is the main city in the region of the same name, and it sits astride the Bakhmutka River. The Russian Wagner mercenary group has been laying siege to the town for the past six months, and its leader Yevgeny Prigozhin announced as of March 8, his forces now have the areas east of the river under their control.

The drawn-out and heavy fighting around the district has devastated the urbanized areas in Bakhmut, as seen in a series of satellite images provided in Twitter posts by Maxar Technologies. Russian state-controlled media outlet Tass reports the city is considered an important location for the resupply of Ukrainian forces fighting in Donbas, which could explain the epic battle taking place.

In an article previewing an exclusive March 8 interview with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on a CNN segment with Wolf Blitzer, it was reported he and the top military officials are intent on holding the line in Bakhmut.

They believe that should Putin’s forces manage to capture the city, they will have “an open road” to take other important areas throughout the eastern part of their country.

The United States Annual Threat Assessment published by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) on February 6, gives its opinion that the effects of Putin’s efforts in Donbas won’t be fully felt until spring or summer and that he “probably will not be able to take all of it in 2023.” The report goes on to say the losses incurred by the Russians “will require years of rebuilding and leave them less capable of posing a conventional military threat to European security.”

The DNI assessment points out that Moscow will therefore need to lean on its “nuclear, cyber, and space capabilities” to compensate for the pounding its conventional forces have taken. The analysts also showed that Putin is expanding and modernizing his nuclear warhead arsenal and reminded readers the Russian dictator has warned Western nations he would use the WMDs (weapons of mass destruction) if he felt his homeland was directly threatened.

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