JRL NEWSWATCH: “Ukraine’s Somme: Russia is hurling troops at the tiny Ukrainian town of Bakhmut. But the battle is bloody and pointless” – The Economist

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

“… Ukrainian offensives in Kharkiv … and Kherson … have put Russia on the defensive along vast front lines. The exception is Bakhmut, along with Avdiivka to the south. Virtually all of Russia’s remaining offensive power — which is not much — has been thrown at the town since August. That was originally because it anchors the southern end of a defensive line shielding the bigger cities of Slovyansk and Kramatorsk. But the attacks now seem to be animated more by stubbornness than strategy. Even before the war, the town’s population was not much over 70,000. The offensive has been led by the [mercenary] Wagner Group … and supported by air power, copious artillery and waves of hapless infantry, reinforced in recent weeks by troops withdrawn from Kherson and by newly mobilised men. The regular army fights during the day[,] Wagner units… at night. Elite airborne forces have joined in. For all that, the front lines have hardly budged. …”

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