Russian President Vladimir Putin is currently hailing defeats in Ukraine. He urgently needs success reports. The city of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region is supposed to provide him with it. It is strategically extremely important for both sides.

Evicted from the town of Lyman. Humiliated in the Kharkiv region. And broken defense lines in the Kherson region. For the Russian army there are currently more defeats than victories in the Ukraine war. At the same time, Vladimir Putin urgently needs success stories to keep up the already dwindling morale of the citizens and soldiers.

The city of Bakhmut in Donetsk Oblast should be such a success story. The Russian army has been besieging the town of 70,000 and the surrounding villages for months. A cruel bombardment, without real progress. Because the Ukrainian army has so far successfully defended the position.

The current situation report of the “Institute of the Study of War” states: “The Ukrainian General Staff reported on October 2nd and 3rd that the Ukrainian forces carried out Russian attacks on the ground in Bakhmut, near Bakhmutske (10 kilometers northeast of Bakhmut), Zaitseve (to the south-east), Odradivka (to the south), Majorsk (further south) and Vesela Dolyna (to the south-east).

According to this, the only option left for the Russians is artillery fire, which has so far caused serious damage, above all to the streets, buildings and people’s souls. But Bakhmut is still in Ukrainian hands.

Putin sent his elite troops here. From the north come the mercenaries of the Wagner group. The well-trained and equipped fighters are considered particularly brutal and ruthless. The Chechen fighters of the notorious President Ramzan Kadyrov are moving in from the south. But even these two war-experienced units have not yet succeeded in breaking the Ukrainian resistance.

But according to a Ukrainian army press officer, that is exactly what Putin is aiming for. The woman says to “Welt”: “The Russians want to take Bachmut with all their might.” And further: “After Kharkiv, they absolutely need a report of success.”

But why is Bachmut so important? For the Russians, it is the gateway to those parts of the region that are still controlled by Ukraine. If the Russians are successful, they could shell the two major cities of Kramatorsk and Sloviansk in the coming months.

However, if the Ukrainians hold their ground, this could cement the situation for the coming cold winter months. And then the Ukrainians could use the city as a base for recaptures in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.