For six months, Ukrainians and Russians have been fighting bitterly over the city of Bakhmut. British military experts see significant Russian casualties disproportionate to gains. But a Ukrainian military expert has an idea of what it could be about.
According to British military experts, the Russian invading troops in Ukraine have engaged in a disproportionately costly battle for the town of Bakhmut. The advantage of capturing the city in the Donetsk region, with a population of around 70,000, is not in proportion to the price Moscow is paying for it, according to the Defense Ministry's daily intelligence update on the Ukraine war in London.
Although taking Bakhmut would give Russia an opportunity to threaten major urban centers like the cities of Kramatorsk and Sloviansk, it would only be of "limited operational value," the British added. It is therefore a realistic possibility that the capture of the city has become primarily a symbolic, political goal for the Kremlin.
Russian forces have been trying for months to capture Bakhmut, which blocks the way to the major cities of Kramatorsk and Sloviansk. Separatist units of the Republic of Donetsk, the Wagner mercenary force and regular Russian troops are deployed there. Ukraine's retired colonel Serhiy Grabsky told Canada's CBC that he suspected the Wagner group was probably contracted by the Kremlin to capture Bakhmut. It is likely that this was coupled with a significant financial reward, regardless of the number of Russian lives lost in the process.
The British Ministry of Defense has published daily information on the course of the war since the beginning of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine at the end of February, citing intelligence information. In doing so, the British government wants to both counter the Russian portrayal and keep allies in line. Moscow accuses London of a targeted disinformation campaign.