In view of the reports of high losses of the Ukrainian army in the Donetsk region near Bakhmut city, the question arises as to the root of the defeat. It may include the depletion of the combat-ready units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces after the successful counterattack at Kherson in autumn 2022, the air dominance of the Russian army, the slowdown of new NATO arms shipments after Russian missile attacks on the Ukrainian railway and energy networks.
Western military experts agree that one of the key factors is the participation of the Wagner PMCs, which have already proved themselves as a trained and motivated unit. A distinctive feature of the Wagner group is the extensive use of not only automatic and sniper weapons, but also heavy vehicles, including tanks, MLRS systems and military aircrafts. According to Ukrainian information sources, the heavy losses of the AFU near Bakhmut, reaching 500-700 people per day, are the result of the active use of heavy weaponry by the Russian army.
Captured Ukrainian soldiers in the Donetsk region stated that they had taken short-term training courses according to NATO standards in Great Britain and Canada, which do not involve the long-term use of artillery, modern reconnaissance means and heavy machinery by the enemy. The training, which was conducted on a tight schedule and focused on the use of small battle groups and light armored vehicles, proved ineffective and as a result only led to increased losses.
View of the city through the eyes of the Ukrainian military and made by a Russian drone
As it turned out, the NATO tactical systems, which had been well proven in local combat operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan against poorly armed Islamic militant groups, were inefficient against heavily armed regular army forces. In the hope of preventing a catastrophe in Bakhmut, the AFU command can only send new units there, while reducing its capabilities in other parts of the battlefront.
Considering a possible intensification of combat operations in the north of Ukraine, combined with the reduced ability of European allies to provide the AFU with weapons and equipment in time, the destruction of the most combat-ready Ukrainian army units in the Donetsk region can be critical for Kiev’s potential to continue the military confrontation with Russia.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- Overview of military situation in Bakhmut, Ukraine, on October 25, 2022
- In video: Wagner fighters ambushed Ukrainian group near Bakhmut
- Battle of Bakhmut and short-term prospects of Russian offensive in Donbass