Ukraine war: Why is Bakhmut so important to Russia and a ‘thorn in the side of Putin’? | World News

The landscape around the Ukrainian stronghold of Bakhmut resembles a World War I battlefield, the ground battered by artillery and cut by a network of trenches.

For months, Russian forces, including mercenaries from the Wagner Group, have repeatedly attacked the city as they take full control of the Donbass region, but to no avail.

As Vladimir Zelensky Last month the American Congress was packed: “They are attacking him day and night, but Bachmouth stands.”

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On Tuesday, Wagner Group’s Yevgeny Prigozhin’s discussion of the struggle to break through Ukrainian lines around the city was shared by state media.

He said there are “500 lines of defence” and every house is a “fortress”.

Bakhmut is at the center of the battlefield for control of the region.

So why is Bakhmut so important to Russia?

Strategically not, retired Air Vice Marshal Sean Bell told Sky News.

“Bakhmut is not a significant military target”, he says.

But in the context of wider Russian efforts to seize all of Donbas, Bakhmut is part of the territory still controlled by Ukrainian forces that remains a “thorn in Putin’s side”, Mr Bell added.

The UK Ministry of Defense says capturing the city would have “limited operational value” for Moscow, although it added that it would “potentially allow Russia to capture the large urban areas of Kramatosk and Slavyansk.” Threatened”.

On Tuesday, the department said it was “unlikely” that Kremlin forces would make any significant advances near Bakhmut in the coming weeks.

What are Evgeny Prigozhin and Wagner doing in Bakhmut?

Most of Moscow’s operations around the city are carried out by the Wagner Group’s mercenaries, including a large number of criminals taken from Russian prisons.

Mr Bell says that after effectively telling Vladimir Putin that Wagner could overcome Bakhmut where the Russian army could not – and then failing to capture the city – Mr Prigozhin blamed Russia’s lack of progress. have started to blame, says Mr Bell.

“He’s not a military expert. So Bakhmut doesn’t suddenly become about military importance, it’s all about political importance and Putin’s telling and the fight between them about power and legacy.

“So I suspect that’s why Bachmouth has become such an iconic moment in the war when it’s so hard to understand from a military perspective how it got there.”

Smoke rises after Russian strikes on the outskirts of Bakhmut, Ukraine PIC:AP
Image:
Much of the city has been razed to the ground by Russian artillery. Photo: AP

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Another characteristic of the Battle of Bakhmut, says Mr Bell, is the difference in fighting style between the Ukrainians and the Russians.

“Russia just has untrained recruits, “Here’s the gun, fire it”.

“And what we’re seeing on the battlefield — and Bakhmut is a really good example — is that Russia has leveled it with heavy carpet bombing.

“What the Ukrainians are doing is surgically striking their supply, surgically striking where they have leadership, surgically striking their bomb dump. “

He likened Russia’s strategy to truce warfare as seen in the two world wars, while Ukraine is using modern join-up military thinking.

“It feels like a clash of cultures where the Russians’ only experience is fighting a 20th century war, while the Ukrainians are fighting a 21st century war using Western technology,” he added.



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