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Ukrainian forces gained time and likely to leave Bakhmut at some point – Estonian intelligence

Friday, 3 February 2023, 14:43
Ukrainian forces gained time and likely to leave Bakhmut at some point – Estonian intelligence

Colonel Margo Grosberg, Chief of the Estonian Defence Forces Intelligence Centre, has reported that by holding Bakhmut, Ukrainian forces gained time to create new lines of defence, so they are likely to withdraw from the city in the near future.

Source: Estonian news outlet ERR, European Pravda reports

Details: Currently, the Ukrainian Armed Forces are still holding the city, although all roads leading to the city from the north, east and south are cut off, and the only way out of the city is from the west, Grosberg said at a press conference at the Estonian Defence Ministry.

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He noted that Bakhmut is the main target of Russian forces.

Quote: "Because the Ukrainian armed forces controlled the city, they were able to build additional defensive lines to protect neighboring areas such as Kramatorsk and Slovyansk

"As a result, a Ukrainian withdrawal from Bakhmut could occur within the next few weeks, if not days. It all depends on how well they have fortified their defenses, but at some point it will no longer be rational to waste resources on defending the city," the colonel added

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Details: Grosberg noted that the fall of Bakhmut to Russian control would not lead to any strategic shift at the front, but would be a psychological and moral victory for Russia, which is necessary for information operations.

Quote: "Any advance and any offensive activity is obviously extremely important for the Russian Armed Forces. They need to succeed in some areas, make a breakthrough and show some victories," Grosberg said.

Details: He added that new equipment supplies to Ukraine would put even more pressure on Russian forces, which could lead to intensification of localised attacks in the coming weeks.

As Grosberg says, Russia is also building up new lines of defence. "Especially in the direction they fear the most, from Zaporizhia oblast to Melitopol," Grosberg said.

Colonel also said that the first batch of conscripts, who will now be deployed on the borders of Ukraine, has completed training in Belarus. At the same time, a new contingent has been involved in the training on a rotational basis.

Grosberg noted that the widely discussed second wave of enlistment in Russia has not yet begun, but the first wave of mobilisation has not yet been declared complete.

Quote: "On a much smaller scale and under the radar, mobilisation has been still ongoing with people being called up and training taking place," Grosberg reported.

"If the current manpower balance on the front is roughly one-to-one, then a successful offensive operation should be three-to-one," he said

Details: Therefore, he implies that the mobilisation may last until the summer.

Background: British Defence Intelligence sees signs that the scale of involvement of Russian convicts recruited by the Wagner Group in the war in Ukraine is gradually reducing.

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