“Russian forces continue to invest a large element of their overall military effort and firepower along an approximately 15km long sector of entrenched front line around the Donetsk Oblast town of Bakhmut,” reads the British intelligence report released by the UK’s Ministry of Defence on Twitter.
As noted, Russia has recently made small advances on the southern axis of this assault, where it is seeking to consolidate limited bridgeheads to the west of the boggy ground around the minor Bakhmutka River.
The British intelligence officers underscore that Russia has prioritised Bakhmut as its main offensive effort since early August 2022. The capture of the town would have limited operational value although it would potentially allow Russia to threaten the larger urban areas of Kramatorsk and Sloviansk.
“However, the campaign has been disproportionately costly relative to these possible gains. There is a realistic possibility that Bakhmut’s capture has become primarily a symbolic, political objective for Russia,” reads the report.
A previous report indicated that one of the main factors limiting Russia's potential to resume offensive operations in Ukraine is a shortage of ammunition, exacerbated by logistical problems.