Putin Needs Bakhmut & Avdiivka - Russian Invasion of Ukraine DOCUMENTARY
Despite assaults from the Russian army in different battlefield sections, the Kremlin cannot brag about major advances. Russia continued making slow progress in and around Bakhmut, but it is very underwhelming if it is the anticipated grand Russian offensive. Russia is expanding its manpower gathered through mobilization without achieving major breakthroughs. And the Ukrainian counter-offensive is looming as more and more pledged western military productions are arriving in Ukraine. In this video, we will talk about this and other important developments from the
first half of March from the war in Ukraine as the unprovoked Russian invasion of Ukraine continues. We’d also like to recommend a great way to see the history behind this war, by getting a rapid lesson on the book Ukraine Crisis by Andrew Wilson from our sponsor Blinkist. It’s a book that covers the events of 2013 to 2014, when the so-called Maidan Uprising demonstrated Ukraine’s will to escape Russian influence, followed by the Russian invasion of Crimea and the beginning of the war in the Donbas. Blinkist brings you the most important ideas from the book so that you can understand how these triggers from the previous decade feed right into the ongoing war of today.
You can get this information in text or audio form, online or through the app, whatever’s convenient for you, and within twenty minutes you’ll know everything you need. Don’t keep this to yourself though; Blinkist has a scheme called Blinkist Connect, which allows you to give access to your premium account for free to another account, so you can bring a friend with you on the Blinkist journey at no extra cost. It’s like it’s two for the price of one all the time. Outside of Ukrainian politics, there are loads of other genres to learn from on Blinkist. You
can see for yourself for free, as if you sign up to Blinkist via our link in the description, you’ll get a seven day free trial, and then twenty five percent off a premium subscription, which is basically two for the price of one on top. Check it out. Let’s have a quick look at the developments on the battlefield over the period of March 1-15. After weeks of regular and unsuccessful frontal assaults on Vuhledar, the Russian army has still not succeeded in this section. Several new attacks have occurred on Vuhledar, but they resulted only in further losses of manpower and armored vehicles for Russia. The social media footage of March 8 shows that the 136th Motor Rifle Brigade elements have been deployed south of Vuhledar to offset horrific losses suffered by the 40th and 155th Naval Infantry Brigades. We should expect new
Russian attempts to capture Vuhledar in the foreseeable future, but if the Russian army does not adjust its tactics and continue using very costly frontal assaults, Russian success is unlikely. Late on March 15, Russian sources made unconfirmed claims of a Ukrainian attack on Polohy on the Zaporizhian front. The published footage proved that the Ukrainians retreated after losing at least 2 armored vehicles. We will see if this is a reconnaissance-by-fire attack or something more major. Battles continue on the North Luhansk front too.
Russia has been on the offensive for the past several weeks, but they have not achieved any decisive breakthrough so far. Strong defensive positions of the Ukrainian army in the forest area around Kreminna have helped the elements of the Ukrainian National Guard and the 95th Air Assault Brigade to repel the BARS battalions and the 144th Motorized Division in this area. Battles have also been ongoing in the Chornopopivka, Bilohorivka and Hryanykivka sections of the front, but the Ukrainian defenders are largely standing their ground. Bakhmut continued to be the main focus for both sides. Speculations about the
Ukrainian withdrawal from Bakhmut continued circulating. Ukrainians did not withdraw from Bakhmut in this period but could not prevent Russians from making further gains. On March 2, Wagner groups advanced towards Dubovo-Vasylivka in the North, Bila Hora and Dylivka in the South, and captured land in Zabakhmutka (eastern Bakhmut). On March 3 or 4, Ukrainians started their retreat from eastern Bakhmut and destroyed two bridges in the Bakhmut section - one over the Bakhmutivka river and another along the Khromove-Bakhmut route west of the city to delay the Russian movement in the area. Evidently, at this point, defending eastern Bakhmut became untenable for Ukraine. The advance of Wagner units in the Bakhmut section enabled them to take control of half of Bakhmut by March 7. This was followed by further advance in the North, as Wagner captured Dubovo-Vasylivka and advanced on Orikhovo-Vasylivka. On March 14, the Wagner units captured the Vostokmash plant in
the North of Bakhmut, where Zelensky reportedly met with Ukrainian servicemen in December 2022. The situation in and around Bakhmut is getting very difficult and bad for Ukraine. Russians are making gains inside Bakhmut and are expanding their control around the M03 highway, which leads to Sloviansk. We have already talked about claimed artillery shell shortages that Russia is experiencing, but Ukraine is apparently suffering from the same problem. According to the 93rd Mechanized Brigade officer, the Ukrainian army does not have sufficient ammunition to defend Bakhmut. He claimed that Ukrainians know about 75% of Russian artillery's main firing positions and command posts but do not have shells to eliminate them. He added that
the high command prohibits them from using western weapons due to their high cost. It is difficult to understand how much of that is true, but several other Ukrainian and international sources have also criticized the Ukrainian command for not withdrawing from Bakhmut since, at this point, the war of attrition in the Bakhmut section is not as favourable for Ukraine as it was before. On March 6, the German newspaper BILD reported about a disagreement between president Zelensky and the commander in chief Valery Zaluzhny. Zaluzhny reportedly asked Zelensky to withdraw from Bakhmut for tactical reasons, which was rejected. This was followed by a statement from Zelensky's office, which said that both Zaluzhny and the commander of the Bakhmut section of the Ukrainian army - General Syrskyi, who was in charge of defending Kyiv at the beginning of the war, were in favour of continuing to fight in Bakhmut. Syrskyi has claimed that the Ukrainian troops in Bakhmut have “forced Wagner’s best assault units to fight and reduced the enemy’s offensive potential.” On March 6, CNN referred to a NATO official who claimed
that there is a 1:5 ratio of Ukrainian and Russian losses in Bakhmut. The Institute for the Study of War also argued that Russia has been wasting its offensive potential in Bakhmut, giving Ukraine “a chance to seize the initiative” in the foreseeable future. The fog of war prevents us from making a definitive assessment of the Ukrainian decision not to withdraw from Bakhmut at this point, as it is impossible for us to verify whether the ratio of losses is indeed so unfavourable for Russia. But in this period, Russia continued its steady progress in this section of the battlefield, and if they keep up this pace, Ukraine would have to withdraw from Bakhmut completely at the point when their presence there would become absolutely untenable. It is notable that the United States
has also reportedly advised the Ukrainian army to withdraw from Bakhmut. Russia also gained some ground towards Pervomaiske and Krasnohorivka. In this period, a minor skirmish occurred in the border region of Bryansk, Russia. A group called the Russian Volunteer Corps entered the Russian
territory, wreaked havoc, and made a video calling the Russian people to rise up against Putin. The Ukrainian government did not take responsibility for this incident, but Denis Nikitin-Kapustin, who led this raid, told the Financial Times that the Ukrainian authorities approved this action. While this incursion does not change anything on the battlefield, it puts the Russian command on edge and arguably demonstrates that this war can and will spill over to Russian territory. But Ukraine will need more serious success on the battlefield to change the souring mood of its people and allies due to losses in Bakhmut, and this can only be done through increased military support of the West. According to the Economist, the West has stepped up its deliveries significantly in the three months since December 9, as “the flow of arms has accordingly turned from a trickle to a flood.” 40% of all pledges made by the US - worth 8 bn dollars - have been
delivered to Ukraine in this period. The Economist quotes a European defence official, who claimed that the German military assistance in January alone equals two-thirds of all their deliveries in 2022. As a result, the third of the Ukrainian army will have NATO-standard equipment very soon. This is helping with the Ukrainian plans for a counter-offensive, as its army plans to have 3 more army corps with 20k people or 6 brigades in each of them, which would be equipped with NATO equipment. In this period, Ukraine’s allies continued pledging and delivering military
assistance to Ukraine, which will be used in the upcoming counter-offensive and beyond that. On March 1, Der Spiegel reported that the European Commission intends to increase its ammunition production, including 155-mm artillery shells, drastically. The EU intends to allocate 1 billion euros to produce 155-mm artillery shells for Ukraine in the short-term and additional funds for the long-term needs of Ukraine. The Financial Times later referred to the letter of the Ukrainian defense minister Reznikov, where he reportedly asked the EU for 250k artillery shells per month. On March 3, the United States announced its 33rd military aid package to Ukraine, including ammunition for HIMARS, US-made howitzers, Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles, and other equipment. On March 4, the Ukrainian Ambassador to Britain claimed that London would deliver 28 Challenger 2 tanks instead of the initially announced 14.
On the same day, Reuters reported that the German military-industrial giant, Rheinmetall, is talking to the Ukrainian government about building a tank factory in Ukraine, which would cost about 200 million euros and have the capacity to produce 400 Panther KF51 tanks annually. Also, on March 4, Saudi Arabia sent 168 tons of humanitarian aid to Ukraine, while NBC stated that Ukrainian pilots had arrived in the US to train on F-16 simulators to understand the time period necessary for training pilots. There have been several other reports about providing fighter jets to Ukraine in this period, but nothing concrete. According to Politico, the United States government is thinking about ways of solving the aviation issue of Ukraine before the start of its counter-offensive. One proposed solution is installing AIM-120 air-to-air missiles
with a range of 50 km on Ukrainian fighter jets. Evidently, the decision has not been made yet, as on March 15, it was reported that a bipartisan group of US senators had called the Pentagon to figure out how to supply F-16s to Ukraine, since the war is entering the critical phase. According to Reuters, Ukraine has also asked the United States for cluster bombs, which are reportedly very effective against the Russian tactic of “human wave” attacks on Ukrainian positions. According to the advisor to Zaluzhny, Dan Rice, DPICM cluster bombs supplied from Turkey have been “one of the biggest game changers of the war… with DPICM, it’s like using a flamethrower against the whole ant hill”. Rice claims that DPICM has caused the increase of Russian daily casualties from 100-200 to 600-800 soldiers per day. On March 8, South Korea approved the Polish request to send Krab howitzers, which have Korean-manufactured components, to Ukraine. Also, Germany announced that 18 German and 3 Portuguese
Leopard 2 tanks would be sent to Ukraine in March, along with informing that 2 additional Gepard anti-air guns have been delivered to Ukraine. Poland also pledged to deliver its promised Leopard 2s in the upcoming days. According to the Danish Defense Ministers, 80-90 Leopard 1 tanks will be delivered to Ukraine throughout 2023, with the first batch intended to be sent in May. Also, on March 8, the EU reported that 11000 Ukrainian soldiers would be trained by the end of March, while the number will rise to 30k by the end of 2023. The following day, Polish president Duda told CNN that Poland and Slovakia would give MiG-29 fighter jets to Kyiv. Poland has also reportedly supplied medical equipment to eight newly formed brigades of the Ukrainian Army.
On March 13, Norway confirmed its intention to deliver two more NASAMS systems to Ukraine. Lastly, on March 14, Ukrainian defence Minister Reznikov stated that Ukraine has started building a naval coalition with at least 3 unspecified countries already joining. One of them is probably the Netherlands, as it was reported that they will supply two minesweepers to Ukraine in 2025. Reznikov also claimed that Ukraine is currently building its navy in Turkey. Ukraine will launch its counter-offensive in two months, according to the presidential aide Podolyak. More tanks and armored vehicles, along with artillery shells, have to be delivered to
give the Ukrainian army a higher chance of success in turning the situation on the battlefield around once again. We are not even talking about such massive game-changers as advanced fighter jets and long-range precision missiles, the self-imposed red line that Ukraine’s Western allies have been reluctant to cross so far. What about military support to Russia from its friends and allies? There has not been much, to say the least. At the beginning of March,
the Economist claimed that China was furious about leaked details of their potential military aid to Russia, as it could jeopardize their position as a neutral power-broker in this war and worsen its relations with the West. On March 8, Sky News released its investigation about ammunition and almost 300k artillery shells [sent to?] to Russia in January. As usual, the Wagner group and its chief created several stories for the media to report on.
In early March, it was reported that they had opened several recruitment centers in sports facilities aiming to get new recruits from aspiring Russian sportsmen. Wagner has even placed a promo on a certain orange-black website for adults, where they called on Russians to fight instead of… watching cartoons. Stop it, onii-chan, I guess. Given the level of casualties suffered by his group, Prigozhin has to find an alternative to prison recruitment, which he has recently been prohibited from carrying out. Apparently, the situation in the regular Russian army is not getting any better either, as more and more videos of mobilized soldiers complaining of being used as cannon fodder in senseless assaults. In this period, Russia carried out
only one mass attack on the Ukrainian civilian infrastructure, albeit a very powerful one. 81 cruise missiles and Iranian-made Shahed drones were launched on Ukrainian cities on March 9. For the first time since the start of the full-scale war, Kinzhal hypersonic ballistic missile was used, and according to the Ukrainians, they didn’t have the means to shoot it down. This was done in retaliation for the incursion into the Bryansk oblast, but if Russia intends to gain something from these strikes, they would have to be much more regular. Ukrainian services have adapted well, and Ukraine's power supply is much better than in late 2022. For instance,
Kharkiv had street lighting on March 8 for the first time since the start of the war. As the war continues, international tensions are escalating too. There are many rumors and claims, but the perpetrator of the explosion on the Nord Stream pipelines is still unknown. Several Western media outlets have recently claimed that Ukraine may have been behind this attack. This was strongly rebutted by Putin, who implied that such an attack could have only been conducted by a country with advanced technological capacity like the United States. Different commentators and journalists have previously accused both the United States and Russia of conducting this attack, as the official investigation has not given any answers yet.
To continue the topic of the USA-Russia tensions in connection with the war in Ukraine, on March 14, the Russian Su-27 fighter downed the American MQ-9 Reaper over the Black Sea, which was most probably conducting reconnaissance. The good thing is that this incident did not lead to any further escalation between the two biggest nuclear powers in the world. Speaking of nuclear powers, more reports about the increased diplomatic activity of China have emerged in this period. On March 8, the Chinese foreign minister Qin Gang accused the United States of double standards in supporting Ukraine’s territorial integrity while not doing the same regarding Taiwan.
He also questioned Washington’s warnings about Chinese military support to Russia while America kept selling weapons to Taiwan. He called on the United States to focus on joint interests and responsibilities before praising friendship between China and Russia, which according to Qin Gang, seeks a multipolar world, a more democratic international system and a global strategic balance. In this period, the media also reported about an upcoming visit of the Chinese leader Xi Jinping to Moscow, which may be a powerful message of support to Russia. It was also claimed that Xi is planning to hold an online meeting with Zelensky after his visit to Moscow, which may further signal China’s intention to step up its diplomatic activity and become a mediator between Russia and Ukraine. The war in Ukraine is about to enter another very active and bloody period. The Russian offensive in Donbas is going to reach its culmination at some point in the spring, at the time when the Ukrainian counter-offensive is anticipated to be launched. According to the chief advisor of Valery Zaluzhny, General Viktor Nazarov,
the war will last at least another year. Indeed, it is unlikely that the current Russian offensive or the upcoming Ukrainian counter-offensive will end the war in a single strike, barring a major political or economic collapse for either of the sides. Thus, sadly, there will probably be tens of thousands more casualties in this meaningless war launched by Putin. At this point, according to the commander of United States European Command, Christopher Cavoli, Russia has lost 200k men, including at least 1800 officers, along with more than 2k main battle tanks. On March 13, American and European officials claimed that Ukraine had lost 120k men killed or injured. According to
the Oryx blog, the visually confirmed equipment losses for Russia as of March 15 are 1831 tanks, 3817 vehicles, 233 command posts and communication stations, 638 artillery pieces and vehicles, 180 multiple rocket launchers, 77 aircraft, 79 helicopters, and 200 drones. For Ukraine, these are 475 tanks, 1391 vehicles, 9 command posts and communication stations, 254 artillery pieces and vehicles, 40 multiple rocket launchers, 61 aircraft, 31 helicopters, and 87 drones. Thanks again to Blinkist for sponsoring this video. Check out our link in the description for a free trial. We will continue covering this war in the coming weeks, so make sure you are subscribed and press the bell button. Please,
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