Why Ukraine is Grasping for Artemovsk (Bakhmut) Despite Heavy Losses?

A question repeats in Duran and Alexander Mercouris commentary videos: why Ukrainian command wouldn’t pull its troops from Artemovsk, if it loses so many troops there?

First of all, Russians lose troops as well. And being heavily fortified and urbanize area, defenders have the advantage. So, pulling out only means taking the fight to another similarly or less defendable position. That is why the retreat from Artemovsk will not save any lives.

Another reason is that retreat from fortified position will only come if that position is in danger of being surrounded and cut off from supplies. Since Artemovsk isn’t surrounded or in any immediate danger of being surrounded, there is no military reason to abandon it.

Why when Russians keep assaulting this heavily fortified position at the heavy cost of high losses among the most combat-experienced troops and military hardware? The question is probably mixed one. Firstly, the taking of Artemovsk, or more accurately that will remain of it, will be presented for domestic Russian public as great military achievement in hopes of destructing said public from the MoD multiple failures.

Another reason, a speculative but still highly plausible one, is that Russia is preparing its next large operation. Depending on the intelligence available, Russia may plan for some sort of escalation, like the entrance of Poland into the war, or it may plan for a large offensive (reminiscent of the ones in the first month of the war) against Ukrainian Army. Either way, it needs to amass a large number of fresh troops, equipped and armed. Those would have to come mainly from the mobilized personnel, who need about half a year or training in order to be able to participate in combat arms operations. I’m saying mobilized personnel, because all of the previously available troops are already taking part in the fighting (including the conscripts, protecting the Russian proper side of the border). While in reality some of the mobilized don’t seem to be getting the training or the equipment they actually need, six months is a safe bet from the military planning perspective (not too short, not too long) for front-line ground forces to achieve some initial operational capability. If so, I would expect some operational-level initiative from the Russian Army around February — six months after the start of mobilization. Plus, the February 23-th is the Day of the Red Army and the Navy in Soviet-Russian calendar, and it also will be the full year since the start of the war. It is entirely possible political and military leadership would like to have some positive talking points to broadcast on that day.

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