Military leaders in the U.S. and NATO continue to insist that the Russians are making little progress in Bakhmut. Here are a couple of examples of this so-called “thinking”:
Russia is making small advances near the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut but this was coming at a great cost, the top U.S. general said on Wednesday.
Reuters quotes thoroughly modern Milley:
“The Russians are making small, tactical advances (but) at great cost,” Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley told reporters.
Russia has reported painstaking gains around Bakhmut in recent weeks, making progress on encircling the city, but it has not made significant territorial gains in months.
No significant gains? I am publishing this animated map as a public service.
If you look carefully at the last three seconds of the video gif you will see that there are at least 9 Ukrainian brigades that are now surrounded and trapped. The Russians have fire control over the only route of retreat for these Ukrainian units. The time-lapse video shows significant progress over the course of the last thirty days. And I am not just talking about the capture of territory. The losses the Ukrainians are suffering are enormous in terms of men and equipment.
The next time-lapse video shows the results of capturing Soledar aka Соледар. Controlling this city provides Russia with a secure rail line that is being used to provide supplies of food and ammunition to the Wagner Group and other Russian forces on the front lines. It also provides the logistics infrastructure for moving wounded soldiers to more secure medical care. Ukraine does not have a comparable logistics system in place to provide the same level of support.
I want to remind you that this is only a snapshot of a small sector of the the 1000 mile long line of combat. While Western officials continue to cling to the delusional belief that Russia is making small progress, we have yet to see a single instance in the last six months of Ukraine pushing the Russians back on these points of attack. The reason is simple — Ukraine lacks the manpower, the ammunition supplies and the logistics to carry out such an operation.
As you can see in the following map, Russia is maintaining pressure, with a high rate of fire, all along the front.
Officials in the West and in Ukraine continue to insist that a counter-attack is coming. I have to assume this is a desperate psychological operation. I find it difficult to believe that responsible military leaders and planners would be publicly tipping their hand about what they intend to do and where they intend to strike. General Eisenhower and General Montgomery did not blather on in the press about their upcoming invasion in Normandy. They obfuscated their moves and made masterful use of deception. Ditto for Marshal Zhukov and General Konstantin Rokossovsky in their planning and execution of Operation Bagration.
I think the United States and its NATO partners are making a deadly mistake in underestimating Russian intelligence about the disposition and readiness of Ukrainian forces. What is clear is that the Russians are not saying anything about their plans for destroying the Ukrainian Army. But I am certain that such plans exist and are being executed according to a schedule dictated by Russia.