Ukraine Facing Increasing Pressure as Russian Forces Surround Bakhmut
On the 5th of March, 2023, the UK Ministry of Defence released its bleakest assessment yet concerning the situation in the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut. They reported that Ukrainian forces were facing increasing pressure from Russian forces in and around the city, with intense fighting taking place. Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of Russia’s Wagner group, has called on President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to order a withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from the besieged city. Prigozhin said in a video that Bakhmut was “practically surrounded” by his forces and that only one road remained open to the west of the city.
If Russian President Vladimir Putin is successful in his capture of Bakhmut, it would serve as a symbol of progress for the Kremlin's control of four eastern regions that were declared by Putin to be illegally annexed. However, military experts say there is little long-term strategic value in taking the city, and if Ukraine retreats they will fall back to long-planned defensive positions.
The conflict between Russia and Ukraine has been ongoing for over a year now, with thousands of casualties and ammunition shortages on both sides. While Putin may spin a victory in Bakhmut to continue the war effort, military experts believe that the capture of the city will not significantly change the dynamic of the wider war.
0. “Ukrainian Forces, Under Renewed Russian Pressure, Seek to Reinforce Bakhmut” The Wall Street Journal, 4 Mar. 2023, https://www.wsj.com/articles/ukrainian-forces-under-renewed-russian-pressure-seek-to-reinforce-bakhmut-14a5e942
1. “UK says Ukraine forces under increasingly severe pressure in Bakhmut” The Jerusalem Post, 4 Mar. 2023, https://www.jpost.com/breaking-news/article-733336
2. “Russia-Ukraine war at a glance: what we know on day 373 of the invasion” The Guardian, 3 Mar. 2023, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/mar/03/russia-ukraine-war-at-a-glance-what-we-know-on-day-373-of-the-invasion
3. “Race to get last children out of Bakhmut as city becomes ‘hell on earth'” The Irish Times, 4 Mar. 2023, https://www.irishtimes.com/world/europe/2023/03/04/race-to-get-last-children-out-of-bakhmut-as-city-becomes-hell-on-earth/
4. “Bakhmut on the brink as Ukraine signals retreat” The Hill, 2 Mar. 2023, https://thehill.com/policy/defense/3881549-bakhmut-on-the-brink-as-ukraine-signals-retreat
5. “Ukrainian forces cling to Bakhmut as Russia attacks from three sides” The Washington Post, 5 Mar. 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/03/05/bakhmut-ukraine-russia-war-donetsk/