US and Western officials have urged Ukraine to shift its focus from the battle for Bakhmut in Donetsk Oblast to a potential offensive on the country’s south, US and Ukrainian officials told CNN.
Quote: “US and Western officials are urging Ukraine to shift its focus from the brutal, months-long fight in the eastern city of Bakhmut and prioritize instead a potential offensive in the south, using a different style of fighting that takes advantage of the billions of dollars in new military hardware recently committed by Western allies.”
Details: CNN reported that Ukrainian troops have been going toe-to-toe with the Russian forces on the Bakhmut front for almost six months. The city is almost completely destroyed following intense Russian attacks.
“It is a brutal and grinding fight,” said a senior Western intelligence official, adding that each side exchanges 100 to 400 metres of land per day and exchanges several thousand artillery rounds almost daily.
Background: On 20 January, German media reported that Germany’s foreign intelligence service (BND) is alarmed by huge losses the Ukrainian army is suffering in fighting against Russian forces in Bakhmut.
At the same time, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) believes that the Ukrainian defence of Bakhmut is a strategically sound operation, in spite of the price that the Ukrainian side has been paying.