Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Expert: This Is Why Bahamut Is Still Being Battled


Ukraine and Russia have both reported success in the city, which has been the target of months of fighting.

In Ukraine, the fight for Bahamut continues to intensify, and both Ukraine and Russia have reported that they have achieved success.

– The situation has been that Russia is advancing in the city, but very slowly. At the same time, Ukraine has been able to push back Russian troops on the outskirts of the city, where Russia tried to build a blockade, but not actually in the city, according to Ilmari Cahko, a visiting researcher at the Alexander Institute.

– Ukraine has liberated areas north and south of Bahamut, and the maintenance of the city is now in much safer hands than it has been for a long time. The situation in the city itself remains critical.

According to Kayhko, Ukraine’s success can be partly explained by the fact that Russia’s best forces are located in the city, not on the outskirts of Bahamut. Also, it is usually easier to attack in a non-urban environment than in a city.

Ukrainian soldiers near Bahamut.

Ukrainian soldiers near Bahamut. Photo: Reuters

The Battle of Bahamut has attracted a lot of attention. However, according to Kaiko, it is a city among others that has gained great political importance due to the resources concentrated there.

– If Ukraine’s counterattack is echoed elsewhere, Bahamut can be quickly forgotten. Bahamut as a city is not very important. It has been significant when nothing else has happened and political significance has been created for it.

The Russians continue their attack despite the fact that they have suffered heavy losses and have not captured the city despite months of fighting. Ukraine, on the other hand, also suffered significant losses, and during the spring it was considered whether the city should have been retaken in order to save manpower and equipment.

According to Kaihko, it is especially important for Russia to achieve its goal, that is, to conquer Bahamut. Even today, however, Russia’s actions make expected Ukrainian retaliatory strikes difficult.

– Even if Russia does not capture Bahamut, this operation will tie down the Ukrainian military there and force Ukraine to use its resources, which would surely be used elsewhere. But yes, the capture of the city is definitely the main thing here.

The war has almost destroyed the city of Bahamut.

The war has almost destroyed the city of Bahamut. Photo: Maxar Technologies / Reuters

According to Kayhko, one of the reasons Russia has accused Bahamut of a lot of resources and continued offensive operations may be the private army Wagner and its leader Yevgeny Prigozhin.

– Bahamut has been Prigozhin’s project and he has made it clear that the capture of the city will be his victory and he has kept a lot of prisoner soldiers there, says Kaihko.

The conventional Russian army is actually brought to Bahamut and its soldiers take part in the assault with Wagner’s support.

Even when there was no victory, Prigozhin in his harsh statements shifted the responsibility to the Russian army and military leadership.

– It implies that he is not allowed to succeed and the cause of failure and waste of resources goes to someone else.

Yevgeny Prigozhin regularly publishes videos on social media and is sometimes harshly critical of the Russian military leadership.

Yevgeny Prigozhin regularly publishes videos on social media and is sometimes harshly critical of the Russian military leadership. Photo: AFP/LEHTKUVA

Prigozhin’s position has sparked debate, as “Putin’s chef” who runs the catering service has repeatedly criticized the Russian military leadership. How can a man indirectly criticize Russian President Vladimir Putin even on the day of victory. In the video, Prigozhin spoke of a “happy grandfather” who “thinks he’s good” but could be “a complete bastard” without naming Putin.

Kaihko is not convinced that Prigozhin’s position is sound, even though he is supported among those who support the war.

– If Putin were to think about whether he supports the military or an individual warlord, he would probably support the military, which is so large and belongs to the institution of government. Such leaders come and go. Prigozhin would be second, although for example some war bloggers think that Wagner would be a good core of the future army in Russia.

According to Kaihko, until now has been used for a character like Prigozhin. It could be different if Russia finds itself on the defensive if Ukraine launches a counterattack.

– If you think about Wagner’s troops, they don’t have much to offer in a defensive war. If there are many poorly trained prisoners and a small number of well trained soldiers, such soldiers cannot perform at their best in such a war.

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