Russian conscripts, Wagner mercenaries to face tough street fighting in Bakhmut, says UK intelligence

21 December 2022, 11:25 AM
British intelligence assessed the chances of the Russian army in street battles in Bakhmut (Photo:General Staff)

British intelligence assessed the chances of the Russian army in street battles in Bakhmut (Photo:General Staff)

Russian soldiers and Wagner mercenaries have made small advances on the eastern edge of Bakhmut, Donetsk Oblast, over the last week, but will likely face tough street fighting, the UK’s Defense Intelligence said in its daily summary on Twitter on Dec. 21.

According to the agency, Russia’s infantry likely now have a foothold in the eastern industrial areas of the town, and at times has advanced into the residential district of the city. Street fighting is ongoing.

The department said that intense combat has occurred in the Bakhmut sector since June 2022, but the front lines have primarily been in open country around the eastern approaches to the town.

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UK intelligence stressed the war has seen little protracted, large-scale fighting in built up areas (FIBUA) since the Russian advances into Lysychansk and Severodonetsk in July 2022.

“With FIBUA demanding highly trained infantry with excellent junior level leadership, this type of combat is unlikely to favour poorly trained Wagnerfighters and the Russian army’s mobilised reservists,” the summary states.

Serhiy Cherevatyi, spokesman of the Eastern Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, said on national television on Dec. 4 that the Russians were losing 50 to 100 people killed and the same number wounded a day in fighting around Bakhmut.

According to him, by holding the line at Bakhmut, the Ukrainian military can achieve several important goals: the Russians cannot enter the operational space, are unable to carry out a strategic offensive operation, and are suffering huge losses every day.

Oleksandr Syrskyi, commander of the Ground Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, earlier said that the capture of Bakhmut has a symbolic meaning for the Russian invaders.

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