Russia and Ukraine have been slugging it out in Bakhmut, a strategic location vital to Ukraine’s ability to remain in the western part of the Donetsk Republic, and it is evoking alarm among Ukraine’s western allies as Russia grinds on with devastating effect.
A Dallas Morning news opinion piece by Hollie McKay, who clearly sides with Ukraine, admitted some uncomfortable truths:
A victory for the Russians, even one that resembles the apocalypse, is a very real and very jarring possibility. For the Kremlin, securing Bakhmut — one of the few places it is not in retreat — represents the frenzied feat needed to change the narrative of their losing “special military operation.”. . .
I watch helplessly as missiles whirl above and slam into civilian infrastructure. Certainly, Moscow’s targeting of non-combatant dwellings has been well-documented throughout the war. However, what I also observe is that Ukraine’s military often sets up posts directly outside humanitarian headquarters, hospitals and homes. It is for self-protection or because there are no longer conventional sandbagged frontlines and delineations between the armed and the unarmed. Nevertheless, it makes the scenario uncomfortable and makes every inch a pronounced target.
Holly indulges the fantasy that Russia is mostly retreating. That is a lie. Russia is moving on a broad front in Donetsk and the Ukrainians are paying a terrible price. Not my opinion. It is the judgment of a neo-Nazi Ukrainian commander:
The commander of the neo-Nazi Svoboda battalion, Petro Kuzik, whose unit is trying to hold Bakhmut, told Western media that the fields and forests around are littered with the corpses of Ukrainian soldiers, and they have to defend themselves in extreme cold and knee-deep in water.
“They [the Russians] sensed a weakness in our defenses because there are units that are less motivated than ours. And yesterday they slightly weakened our defenses in the area immediately around Bakhmut. Some units could not withstand this artillery onslaught and retreated.”
Asked how serious the loss of life is, he said: “They are colossal. We don’t even count the bodies.”
Pictures and videos are worth a thousand words. The following will give you an appreciation of the horror unfolding in Bakhmut.
Pay close attention to the 36 second mark in the following video. You will see a massive fireball in the upper right hand corner of the image.
The troubles for the Ukrainian troops are not confined to the basements, schools and hospitals occupied by Ukrainian troops. Russian MRLS rockets are wreaking havoc as well in the trenches:
And then there are the Anti-Tank Guided Missiles, probably US supplied Javelins, being used against Ukrainian troops hunkered down in a forest:
I recently took a Trauma Combat Casualty Care course offered by a retired Delta Force operator. Terrific training by Bob Keller. U.S. military forces learned a lot about how to treat combat casualties with massive hemorrhages. Notice the photo below. The Ukrainian casualty is wrapped in a space blanket. That’s good, right? Nope. Before taking this training I assumed that the appropriate way to warm a casualty was to use a space blanket. If a wounded soldier has some major bleeders the first step is to apply a tourniquet. One consequence of a large bleed is hypothermia. Wrapping someone in a space blanket, so I discovered in the class, is like wrapping an ice cube with aluminum foil. It appears that critical piece of treatment protocol has not been taught to the Ukrainians. I wonder if the Russians make the same mistake?
There is no denying the bravery of the Ukrainian soldiers. But Ukraine cannot sustain losses like this for much longer. They are outnumbered by Russia and, even with Western volunteers being used as replacements, the Ukrainian losses are mounting.