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Exhaustion permeates Russia and Ukraine's forces that battle for Bakhmut's ruins

April 10, 2023: Following eight months of intense and brutal fighting amid Russian and Ukrainian forces in and over Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, both sides are exhausted as they keep fighting over a town a little over ruins, according to Western officials.

On Wednesday, speaking at a defence intelligence briefing, Western officials who asked to remain anonymous because of the sensitive nature of the situation on the ground in Ukraine stated that Russian forces had made plodding progress in their efforts to capture Bakhmut in the Donetsk region, which states any advances over a previous couple of weeks could be measured in meters.

A lull in the latest activity had been because of the poor weather, officials said, as well as “exhaustion on both sides.”

The officials said Russia was taking an increasing number of casualties. They believed its fighters were not in complete control of Bakhmut, despite the head of the mercenary forces of Russia there claiming that the people fighting had taken over the main administration building on the previous Sunday.

In any case, they had written that Bakhmut is recognizable as it once was. “There isn’t a town left,” they stated.

Russian forces, the highest of whom are mercenary units which belong to the Wagner Group, have been trying to advance in the broad Donetsk for months, as wholly occupying the region is a crucial aim for the Kremlin. While not strategically critical by itself, which captures the town is seen by Russia as an entering stone to advance onto different regional cities such as Sloviansk and Kramatorsk.

Despite defence analysts assessing that Russian forces have gradually encircled Bakhmut to the north, east and south, Ukraine has refused to tactically get from Bakhmut instead of promising to reinforce and defend it. And so the fighting continues.

On Wednesday, Western officials said that Ukraine had surprised all with its tenacity and capacity to hold off the Russians. It had been useful to inflict as casualties on Russia as possible.

Even if Ukraine could or should implement forces into Bakhmut to retake just as they’re training for a large-scale counteroffensive with little learned about when and where this could start was a question, officials said.

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