May 22, 2023

Russia Claims Bakhmut, but Some See a ‘Pyrrhic Victory’

Source: The New York Times

Journalists: Michael Schwirtz, Marc Santora

But a swift offensive by Ukrainian forces in the late summer and fall cleared Russia’s military out of Izium and out of a large chunk of Ukraine’s northeast. This removed the Russian threat from the north and allowed Ukraine to fully array its forces against the Russian troops moving in from the east.

“You could argue that, having lost Izium, the Russian military doesn’t have a way to encircle this part of the Donbas,” said Michael Kofman, the director of Russia studies at C.N.A., a Virginia-based defense research institute, who was in Bakhmut this year.


By doing so, they locked Ukrainian troops into fixed battle lines that did not play to Kyiv’s strengths, Mr. Kofman and others said. Ukraine’s military has been most successful when its units have been given the flexibility to adapt and operate creatively in battles, attacking where they can find an advantage, but also withdrawing when the odds tip against them.

Read the full story and more from The New York Times.


  • Michael Kofman

    Former Adjunct Senior Fellow, Transatlantic Security Program

    Michael Kofman serves as a Senior Research Scientist at the Center for Naval Analyses' Russia Studies Program, and a Fellow at the Kennan Institute, Woodrow Wilson Internation...