Why Ukraine’s defence of Bakhmut matters

Featured in The Times

War in Ukraine


If you pick a place on the map and go hell for leather at it, it assumes an importance of its own,” said Professor Michael Clarke, a distinguished fellow at the Royal United Services Institute. Bakhmut “matters to the Russians because Prigozhin has made it into a target. He’s invested so much in it, and the Wagner Group have invested so much in it that they now cannot be seen to fail.” Ukraine claims that 30,000 of Wagner’s 50,000 troops have deserted or been killed since the start of the war, many around Bakhmut. Their commanders were still hurling them at the Ukrainian positions anyway, Clarke added. “They are losing 60-70 per cent of their troops in every attack and they don’t care.”