Russian efforts near Bakhmut in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk Oblast indicate that Russia has "fundamentally failed to learn from previous high casualty campaigns," the Insitute for the Study of War said in its latest update.
While Russian troops have continued to expend combat strength on small settlements in the area since the end of May, they have only managed to secure a few kilometers at a time, losing manpower and equipment in the process, the ISW said.
This pattern resembles Russia's campaign to take Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk near the Luhansk Oblast border in June-July. Russia eventually captured the two cities, but the success largely failed to translate into any real operational benefits for Russia in the east.
Even if Russia does manage to take Bakhmut, the costs associated with seizing the city will far outweigh the operational benefits of the city itself, according to the ISW.
Russia's continued offensives in the area continue to eat up Russia's available combat power, facilitating Ukrainian counteroffensives elsewhere, the D.C.-based think tank observed.