Bakhmut is protecting four near-front cities, says former Aidar commander

1 April, 01:00 PM
A shot of a video from Bakhmut taken from a drone ( via Instagram/via REUTERS)

A shot of a video from Bakhmut taken from a drone ( via Instagram/via REUTERS)

Another four cities in Ukraine’s Donetsk Oblast would be left in ruins, effectively wiped off the map, should Ukraine abandon its defense of the front-line city of Bakhmut, a former commander in Ukraine’s army has told NV.

Former Aidar battalion commander Yevhen Dykyi in an interview with Radio NV on March 30 explained what would happen should the Ukrainian Armed Forces withdraw from Bakhmut, which has already been largely reduced to rubble by fighting.

Numerous military experts have noted that from a purely military point of view, it would be easier to withdraw from Bakhmut to the next defense lines to hold. However, Ukraine has poured troops into the ruined city to prevent its capture.

Video of day

"It would be possible to leave, let's say, with an absolute sense of accomplishment; with the fact that the enemy has suffered very significant damage, and we have won a lot of time to prepare new units in the rear — those units that will then launch a counteroffensive," Dykyi told NV.

“But this is the military component. There is also the humanitarian component – and it is very different.”

Should Ukraine retreat from Bakhmut, four cities — Kostyantynivka, Kramatorsk, Slovyansk, and Siversk — will move from near-front to frontline cities, Dykyi said, also noting that Kostiantynivka, Kramatorsk, and Slovyansk are all larger than Bakhmut.

"We’d need to immediately evacuate a fairly large number of civilians from (these cities)," he said, noting the repercussions of a Ukrainian withdrawal from Bakhmut.

“And then, we’re ticking the box that after the end of hostilities these cities will simply not exist – just as Bakhmut and Soledar are no longer there. There will be a place on the map where these cities once were. There will be a huge ruin that will have to be completely demolished, and these cities will have to be rebuilt from scratch.”

He said that now "(the Ukrainian military) is actually sacrificing Bakhmut and its garrison" to protect the next four cities behind the front line in Donetsk Oblast.

Dykyi also noted the foreign policy aspect of a retreat from Bakhmut, which was voiced by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

"Giving the Russians at least a small but formal victory now may tip the scales of international support for Ukraine a little bit in the wrong direction," said the former company commander.

Earlier, Deputy Mayor of Bakhmut Oleksandr Marchenko said that fighting was now taking place almost in the central part of the city.

Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said that Russian forces were suffering "crazy losses" in Bakhmut and that continuing to defend the city would limit the enemy's capabilities and stabilize the front line.

In a March 29 interview with the Associated Press, President Zelenskyy said that if Ukrainian troops were defeated in Bakhmut, pressure from both the international community and within the country would increase, and Russian dictator Vladimir Putin would be able to "sell this (as a) victory."

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