Ukraine: Possible Bakhmut retreat to pre-empt Russian reprisal
The Ukrainian military is discussing a possible withdrawal from Bakhmut ahead of an anticipated Russian counter-offensive.
Ukraine is considering retreating from Bakhmut (formerly Artemovsk), according to Ukrainian military personnel cited in The Washington Post, in order to save manpower and supplies in anticipation of a counteroffensive elsewhere.
On January 13, the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) announced that the town of Soledar was now liberated, assuring that this will also block any possible routes to be taken by Ukrainian forces in Bakhmut.
In Bakhmut, Russian forces continue to advance toward the densely populated areas of the city after they succeeded more than a month ago in tightening their siege on the Ukrainian forces present there, while they continue to bombard their positions with missiles and artillery.
A Ukrainian commander, who chose to remain anonymous, commented on the possibility of withdrawal and told The Washington Post that "we have lost many friends in the defense of this city, so we do not want to surrender it now. But maybe a temporary withdrawal would save some of our people," adding that his unit suffered "great losses."
Yuriy Skala, a Ukrainian commander of an intelligence battalion currently on the Bakhmut frontlines, said "I will support the commander-in-chief's decision to maneuver tactically and create a new line of defense if it becomes clear that casualties are too high."
The Washington Post also revealed that several military analysts have agreed that on the grand scale of things, a withdrawal from Bakhmut would result in a great defeat from the political perspective, despite the fact that the city has little strategic importance.
Read more: Russian MoD declares DPR's Soledar liberated