The Ukrainian Defense Ministry says it is difficult to assess Russia’s capabilities for a possible offensive near the town of Bakhmut, Donetsk Oblast; however, it has enough manpower to continue advancing, Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyartold Ukrainian national television on Jan. 3.
The UK Defense Intelligence said in a Jan. 3 update that the frequency of Russian assaults near Bakhmut has likely reduced from the peak in mid-December and it is unlikely that Russia will achieve a significant breakthrough there in the coming weeks.
Asked whether the Russians are really incapable of an offensive, Malyar answered: “It’s hard to forecast for sure.”
According to her, the Russians are involving private armies in the Bakhmut area, including not only the Wagner private military company, but also other military units, such as the Patriot.
She noted Russia has a huge human resource that it can use and is trying to engage through the regular and private armies.
“Don’t underestimate Russia’s resources as a state in general,” Malyar stressed.
“They may not be able to fight with the same intensity as they started, but they still have enough reserves to wage this war in principle. We definitely cannot ignore this: we see the heavy fighting continuing in the Donetsk area.”
Earlier on Dec. 28, U.S. think tank Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said the Russian offensive against Bakhmut was likely culminating. According to experts, the Russians are no longer able to achieve significant operational success on that part of the front. According to ISW analysts, culminated Russian forces may continue to conduct ineffective squad-sized assaults against Bakhmut, though such assaults would be very unlikely to make operationally significant gains.