Geopolitics & World-affairs

Modern warfare collides with World War I-style brutality in the battle for Bakhmut

Since the 2014 "EuroMedan Protest," Ukraine has received continuous assistance from the West in the form of military and humanitarian aid. According to former German Premier "Angela Markel," the Minsk Agreement was a plot to strengthen Ukraine and make it a worthy opponent of Russian forces. So, the Western countries were aware of the impending disaster, but instead of attempting to avoid it, they exacerbated it. 

As a result of their rash move, Ukraine is now forced to fight an unequal war, and Ukraine is losing every stronghold settlement in the country's eastern part, Donetsk Oblast. They have already lost the entire Luhansk oblast although they have been able to retain Kharkove, Kransy-Liman, and Kherson regions after Russian troops unexpectedly withdraw from the region.

The Ukrainians recently lost their key stronghold in the Donetsk region, the Soledar Salt City. With the loss of Soledar, Ukrainian forces lost their chance to retain Luhansk, putting Bakhmut in a difficult position. If they lose Bakhmut, it will be the worst disaster for the Ukrainian military since the start of the war. 

What's at stake for Ukraine, and what is the implication of Soledar's loss? 

Soledar is located on the right bank of the Bakhmut River, 18 kilometers northeast of Bakhmut. It is an important salt mining city in Ukraine because it supplied 95% of the salt required by the Ukrainian population and 70% of Europe's salt requirements. Besides, salt the city was also very important for Gypsum mining. According to the 2001 census, the city once had a population of at least 13,000 people. Now, the city has turned into a ghost town because almost everyone fled the settlement at the beginning of the invasion. 

The Ukrainians used that city as a second line of defense to protect Bakhmut, and it was turned into a fortified base to withstand the Russian front-line attack. A stretch fortification along the Dzerzhinsk-Bakhmut(Artyomask)-Soldedar-Seversk line was created by Ukrainians. After Russia captured the last two Ukrainian strongholds of Lysychansk and Severodonetsk, they started advancing towards Bakhmut and Soledar from north and east, seizing towns along the way, Pilipchatino, and Polroskoye

The Ukrainian 93rd Mechanized Brigade, along with other territorial defense forces were protecting the Soledar. The responsibility of holding the second line of defense was given to the 24th Mechanized brigade, which had suffered severe casualties during the early fighting days in "Popasnaya". 

The forces were holding a solid attack line along the Bakhmut-Soledar up to Lysychansk. They dug deep trenches to protect the city at any cost, but it was all for naught when Soledar died. Ukraine's last hope exists as long as its stronghold in Bakhmut exists. 

Russian forces were having difficulty breaching trenches until winter arrived. Ukrainian forces used and using tree lines in between vast agricultural lands to protect the rest of the Donbas. Russia took an unusual approach to breaching the Ukrainian fort, only 500 meters at a time on a single day. It was a very unconventional move adopted by an army like the mighty Russian army. But, Their calculated steps assist them in capturing the important town of Soledar, resulting in a significant loss for the Ukrainian defense. 

Russia has used and continues to use artillery to create a flank to destroy the Ukrainian defensive line. This is Russia's first successful operation since seizing the Knauf Grips gypsum plant in early August. Russia used that plant as a base camp to launch an attack on the city's southern outskirts first. 

Even after Russia took over the city center of Solder, Ukrainian troops remained on the outskirts of deep salt mines and railway station areas, but Ukraine lost the city entirely yesterday.

They not only lost Soldear they also lost the small strategic village of "klescheavka", and this village is far nearer to the Bakhmut, it is only 9 km north of Bakhmut. 

Why Bakhmut is important? 

Bakhmut is a strategically located city in Donetsk, an important transportation hub with extensive road and rail networks connecting it to the rest of Ukraine. Control of the city will pave the way for a northwestern push for Russians from there deep into Ukraine. 

If Russia is successful in capturing Bakhmut, it will open the way to the next two major cities, Kramatorsk and Sloviansk. It will push the Ukrainian army into a compromising position in controlling the rest of the region of Donetsk, where they are still controlling the cities and strategic positions. 

Luhansk oblast was totally captured by the Russian forces in late June and Early July 2022, following the Ukrainian's defeat in Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk. After that, Russia concentrated its entire firepower on capturing the entire Donestk oblast. To capture the region the Russian troops bombarded the region of Bakhmut. To gain control of strategically important Bakhmut, they first pounded and captured suburb towns, Siverk, Soledar, and Kleschecvka

And there is no sign of stopping this war because every European power and their captain the United States sending additional weapon assistance to Ukraine. 

US military assistance to Kiev

The US is sending military assistance to Kyiv since 2014. They have already sent more than $30 billion dollar security assistance for training and equipment to Ukraine. They send various kinds of weapons starting from the Javline Anti-armor systems to the proposed Patriot missile defense systems. The US is also sending its military personnel to Ukraine to train Ukrainian soldiers.

Recently, the CIA director, William J. Burns, visited Ukraine to assist the Ukrainian military to prepare themselves for the next Russian moves. The US also send Ukrainian military personnel to Oklahoma for the operation of the Patriot missile defense system

The US has also sent an additional $2.5 billion in military equipment that includes: 

1. Additional missile for NASAMS;

2. 8 AN/TWQ-1 mobile air defense systems;

3. 59 M2 Bradly, IFVs with 590 BGM-71-TOW anti-tank missiles and 295,000 rounds of 25mm ammunition;

4. 90 Stryker armored personnel carriers, with 20 mine rollers ;

5. 53 MRAPs350 HMMWVs20,000 155mm artillery rounds, 600 precision-guided, 155mm artillery rounds, 95,000 105mm artillery rounds, 1,800 120mm mortar rounds,  additional ammunition for HIMARS;

6. 12 ammunition support vehicles, 6 command post vehicles;22 tactical vehicles to tow weapons, high-speed anti-radiation missiles AGM-88 HARM, 2,000 anti-armor rockets;3,000,000 rounds of small arms ammunition, demolition equipment for obstacle clearing, Claymore antipersonnel munitions, night vision devices, spare parts, and other field equipment.

Not only the United States the other European powers are sending weapons to Ukraine. The aid from countries including Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Britain, and Poland will include tens of Stinger air defense systems, s-60 anti-aircraft guns, and machine guns. The US and Germany also mulling the option of sending the Abram and Leopold tank to Ukraine but they are under intense pressure from Russia's recent nuclear threat. 

Why are Europe and the United States not attempting to reach an agreement instead of constantly pushing Russia and Ukraine into a never-ending war?

The answer to this question is very simple because for countries "Peace is business and war is money". The US and the Other European powers first fought against Nazism then communism now terrorism. They are trying to build liberal hegemony all across the world, which is an impossible task because countries like UAE, and Saudi Arabia will never adopt democracy as their political system. The US is constantly pushing its agenda of war behind the so-called honest tendency of liberal hegemony to create a democratic world. 

The United States has the world's largest "Military Industrial Complex," which is the backbone of the US economy; in order to feed this system, the US has become a war magnet, and they love war. After the end of the second world war, the US has been fighting different wars in different parts of the world. They also lost wars very badly but their thirst for blood has never been quenched. 

In the US military-industrial complex there are several organizations: Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Boeing, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, and BAE System. These organizations are sending billions of dollars of weapons to Ukraine and they are also selling weapons to other European countries to create the Russo-Phobia among them. Not only the Europeans, Japan, Australia, and South Korea are also buying billions of dollars worth of weapons from Americans. So, there is no way the war will end soon. 

According to Col. Richard Black, the US is in no hurry to end the war because they are profiting from it, and the US is in no hurry to negotiate peace with Russia because they are using Ukrainians to fight a proxy war against Russia in the same way that Pakistan was used as a proxy against the USSR in Afghanistan. The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, is merely a pawn in this game, which the US and its European allies have orchestrated since his accession to the throne.

The US internal politics are raging, and the president has been accused by the opposition Republicans of taking classified files home and using the system to narrate some of his personal agenda. The US internal politics are also on the verge of collapse because of illegal migration into the country and the rise of very radical thought in the society from both sides, right and left. This is a US problem to handle, but the Ukraine war needed to be stopped because the world economy staring at imminent collapse and the US economy is on the verge of serious contraction too.