Ukraine’s Battle for Bakhmut Intensifies as US Offers Military Aid
Ukraine's military forces have been engaged in a fierce battle for control of the city of Bakhmut in eastern Donetsk. Over the past 24 hours, Ukrainian soldiers have repelled 95 Russian attacks in the Bakhmut area, according to the Ukrainian Defense Ministry. The Russians may have intended to encircle Ukrainian forces in Bakhmut, but the Ukrainian command has signalled that it will likely withdraw rather than risk an encirclement.
The commander of Ukraine's ground forces, Col. Gen. Oleksandr Syrskyi, visited Bakhmut on Friday for meetings with local commanders on how to bolster their front-line forces. Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder of Russia's Wagner mercenary force, said in a video that the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut was “practically surrounded” by his forces and that Kyiv's forces had only one road left out.
The US has announced a further $400 million in military aid to boost Kyiv's depleted ammunition stocks. US President Joe Biden lauded Germany’s commitment to providing military and other support to Ukraine as he met with Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the White House.
Recent estimates suggest that Ukraine is firing about 5,000 rounds a day, 1.8 million rounds a year – and Russia between 5,000 and 20,000 a day, although this is down from a summer peak of 60,000. Ukraine and Russia are both actively seeking out supplies, with rumors that Ukraine is expecting new provisions for the front line. Additionally, Russia has been attempting to procure missiles and drones from Iran, while also attempting to build a relationship with China which is being observed with apprehension by the United States.
The duration of the war will be partly determined by how long each faction can sustain their bombardment. Analysts from the Institute for the Study of War (located in the United States) stated that it appears that Ukrainian forces are preparing for a tactical retreat from some areas of Bakhmut. It is yet to be seen if the US and other countries will step in to help Ukraine in its fight against Russia.
0. “With Ukraine under pressure in Bakhmut, fight becomes a battle over roads” The Japan Times, 5 Mar. 2023, https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2023/03/05/world/ukraine-russia-bakhmut-battle/
1. “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
2. “Race to get last children out of Bakhmut as city becomes ‘hell on earth’” The Guardian, 4 Mar. 2023, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/mar/04/ukraine-last-battle-to-hold-bakhmut
3. “Ukraine latest: Numerous Bakhmut attacks still being repelled, says Kyiv” BBC, 4 Mar. 2023, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-64837699
4. “Traditional, heavy warfare has returned to Europe with Ukraine conflict” The Guardian, 6 Mar. 2023, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/mar/06/traditional-heavy-warfare-has-returned-to-europe-with-ukraine-conflict