The long expected Russian offensive in Ukraine has begun.
The Ukrainian army, egged on by its U.S. controllers, had put most of its resource into the static defense of the Bakhmut (Artyomovsk) – Soledar sector of the eastern front. An insane number of Ukrainian brigades, though many partially depleted, were concentrated on that 50 kilometer long front. This left other sectors nearly empty of Ukrainian troops.
I count the equivalent of some 27 brigade size formations in that area. The usual size of a brigade is some 3,000 to 4,000 men with hundreds of all kinds of vehicles. If all brigades had their full strength that force would count as 97,500 men. In a recent interview the Ukrainian military commander Zaluzhny said that his army has 200,000 men trained to fight with 500,000 more having other functions or currently being trained. The forces which are currently getting mauled in the Bakhmut area constitute 50% of Ukraine’s battle ready forces.
On the southern and northern sectors of the battle-line the Ukrainian forces have been thinned out and are only able to defend against minor forces.
The Ukrainian forces in the north and south are in the same position Russian troops had been in when the Ukrainian army last year launched a blitz attack in the Kharkiv region. The Russian screening force of some 2,000 boarder guards and federal police retreated and used its artillery to destroy the oncoming Ukrainian forces. The attack ran out of power and came to a halt after progressing some 70 kilometers on a rather large front. But Ukraine no longer has, unlike the Russians at that time, the artillery that is need to stop a larger thrust.
The big Ukrainian concentration in Bakhmut is now in an operational encirclement. The Russian forces have progressed north and south of the city and their artillery can easily control the western exit roads of Bakhmut. This a Verdun like situation. Russian artillery is by far numerical superior and can slaughter the Ukrainian troops at will. Even the U.S. military is now suggesting that Ukraine should give up on that city. Should the government in Kiev agree to that it will be a retreat under fire with likely high casualties. Not retreating though will make things even worse….