The battlefield of Artemovsk (Bakhmut) is becoming hotter than ever when Ukraine continuously attacks regardless of day and night. The scene is like re-enacting the battle 10 months ago of Russia to regain this strategically located city.
Is Ukraine trying to regain this strategic city or at least important residential areas on the periphery ahead of the upcoming NATO Summit in Vilnius (Lithuania) in the next few days?
In the line of defense stretching thousands of kilometers from Kherson to Donbas, perhaps Ukraine perceives nowhere as Russia’s defenses are as thin as at Bakhmut.
This is a strategic city, where Ukrainian forces fell in May to the onslaught of the Wagner private military group and the Russian army, after 10 months of bloody fighting.
However, according to RT, just over a month later, Kiev launched a large-scale counter-offensive on the entire front line that had been planned for a long time.
Thus, the Bakhmut front can be considered a weak point in the Russian defense line after the Wagner gunmen left, ceding the battlefield to the Russian regular army to take over and organize the defense with a force probably Not much and time to prepare quickly.
On the contrary, this is a familiar battlefield for the Ukrainian side after many months of entrenchment. Therefore, it is not surprising that besides the intense attack direction in Zaporizhia and South Donetsk, the recent Bakhmut battlefield is once again “red on fire” with fierce fighting.
It is noteworthy that in this decisive battle, like the Russian army when attacking Bakhmut city, the Ukrainian side also chose to attack from two wings with a focus on the two towns of Berkhovka and Klihitvka.
With relentless attacks, day and night, Ukraine has also made some progress and is gradually approaching these two important Russian towns.
Channels monitoring the war in Ukraine such as Rybar and Slava Z , the direction of the Ukrainian attack south to Klihitvka is growing strongly, and on July 6, Russian forces had to withdraw into the town to entrench.
Overall, Ukraine has a reason to concentrate offensive forces in Bakhmut partly because of the Russian defense’s arrangement here, and the rest is that Kyiv has ready reserves as well as a system of post-war storage facilities. needed at Chasov Yar and Ivanivske, which had been prepared for the defense of Bakhmut in the past.
Another important factor to take into account is communication. Ukraine was determined to kill Bakhmut, but the city still fell, this is the “pain” of Kyiv and its Western allies.
The NATO summit is approaching, and after more than a month of counter-attack, Ukraine has not won any significant victory to convince partner countries to continue supporting. Bakhmut Battlefield could be the answer to that problem.
The recapture of key towns such as Berkhovka and Klihitvka on the flanks of Bakhmut will carry a lot of weight in the Western media and at NATO conferences.
And this is also the most possible goal of Kyiv at the moment when their counter-attacks have reached both towns. The only remaining issue is Ukraine’s determination and tolerance for damage here.
Is Russia taking one step back to take three steps forward?
The actual Bakhmut front has only been restarted in recent weeks, but the Ukrainian side has advanced very quickly, continuously pushing the Russian defenses behind. All have a reason and are easy to explain. Much of the area outside Berkhovka and Klihitvka to the west is an open field, devoid of settlements.
When attacking Bakhmut, the Russian army significantly expanded the control area to the west to create a buffer zone, protect the main attack force in the city center and the defensive posts on the frontline could be detected. early counterattacks against Ukraine.
This tactical intention of Russia has worked when it simultaneously meets two requirements, which is to stretch the Ukrainian counter-attack force and limit the maximum casualties for the defense units to nearly 2 towns of Berkhovka and Berkhovka. Klihitvka.
These are two important checkpoints to stop Ukraine’s counter-attack and even prepare for a large encirclement and retreat to lock down the main Ukrainian bloc at the Bakhmut front.
Due to Ukraine’s topographical feature of open plains, any defense would have to rely on settlements.
Urban warfare is always extremely difficult for the attackers. Even in Bakhmut, Wagner’s forces, with the maximum support of artillery and air power, took nine months to control this eastern city.
So, despite the advantage in numbers, but inferior in firepower and air force, how will Ukraine destroy the big cities? This scenario is being repeated in Berkhovka and Klihitvka, but changing the role of Ukraine on the offensive and Russia on the defensive.
In addition, the continuous retreat of Russia into the town of Klihitvka can be considered as an act of creation. Similar to Ugledar, Klihitvka is located on higher terrain than the surrounding area, easy to defend, difficult to attack. This defensive position will make Ukraine difficult to attack in the short term.
CNN, citing Ukrainian intelligence sources, said that Moscow has deployed about 180,000 troops of the strategic mobile reserve to the fronts handled by the Eastern Force Group, forming the second team on the back line. In particular, in Bakhmut alone, there were about 50,000 troops and another 120,000 troops on the Lyman – Kupyansk line. This force has not yet entered the war. When will they join the big question for Ukrainian military commanders?
Is it possible that while the Ukrainian brigades are focusing their efforts on breaking through the perimeter of Bakhmut, Russia may be preparing for a large surprise counterattack, hitting deep into the rear, towards Chasov Yar and Ivanivske to make operations. Ukraine’s counter-attack is interrupted, maybe even surrounded and divided.
Moscow can completely implement this scenario to destroy the expectation of Kiev to counterattack to capture an important city before the NATO Summit.
However, the Ukrainian strategic chessboard will not end soon when Kiev still has a strong reserve force, and Russia also has many “cards” that have not yet appeared.