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ISW: Ukrainian forces appear to set conditions for controlled fighting withdrawal from parts of Bakhmut

by The Kyiv Independent news desk March 4, 2023 6:22 AM 1 min read
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Geolocated footage posted on March 3 confirms that Ukrainian troops have destroyed two critical bridges in the Bakhmut area — one across the Bakhmutivka River in northeastern Bakhmut and one along the Khromove-Bakhmut route just west of Bakhmut, the Institute for the Study of War said in its latest update.

"The preemptive destruction of bridges likely indicates that Ukrainian troops may seek to inhibit Russian movement in eastern Bakhmut and limit potential westward Russian egress routes out of Bakhmut," the experts said.

Russian forces have been fighting to take Bakhmut, a city in Donetsk Oblast with a pre-war population of roughly 70,000 people, since roughly May 2022 and have suffered devastating casualties in the process.

Ukrainian Presidential Advisor Oleksandr Rodnyanskyi said on Feb. 28 that Ukrainian forces could choose to pull back from positions in Bakhmut as needed. Ukraine has fortified the area west of Bakhmut such that even if Ukrainian troops begin to withdraw, Russian forces would not necessarily be able to take the entire city rapidly, according to the advisor.

"If the Ukrainian military command deems it necessary to withdraw from Bakhmut, it will likely conduct a limited and controlled withdrawal from particularly difficult sectors of eastern Bakhmut judging from Ukrainian statements and reported Ukrainian actions," the ISW said.

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