Russia’s winter offensive to achieve total control over the Donbas “has failed”, eighty days since it started, according to the Ministry of Defense.
The temporary advantage Russia gained from mobilising some 300,000 troops in the autumn has been largely squandered by Russia’s “marginal gains at the cost of tens of thousands of casualties” in the eastern region, said the MoD.
General Valery Gerasimov, the Chief of the General Staff, who took personal command of the ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine in January, has been leading the offensive in the Donbas which includes the town of Bakhmut, where fighting has been fiercest in recent months.
“After ten years as CGS, there is a realistic possibility that Gerasimov is pushing the limits of how far Russia’s political leadership will tolerate failure,” said the MoD.
In recent weeks, Moscow has switched its focus to Avdiivka in the Donetsk region, hoping to encircle the Ukrainian troops defending it after having so far failed to capture nearby Bakhmut.
However Bakmut remains “one of the enemy’s priority targets,” said Serhiy Cherevatyi.
On Saturday Ukraine’s army said it had killed 162 Russians in Bakhmut over the past day.
“Over the past day, they launched 170 attacks with barrel and rocket artillery in the Bakhmut section of the front. 25 combat clashes took place, during which 162 occupiers were killed, 157 more were injured,” Cherevatyi told Ukrinform, a local news agency.
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