Ukrainian military fire an anti-aircraft weapon, in Bakhmut, Ukraine, January 10. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne  

Moon of Alabama: Ukraine SitRep – Media Ignorance, Counter-Artillery War, Three Lost Armies 

Yves Smith asks: What if Russia Won the Ukraine War but the Western Press Didn’t Notice? 

She points to several headlines which, despite decisive Russian victories like its taking of Soledar, present the Ukraine as winning the war: 

  Nevertheless, Soledar has fallen and the loss of Bakhmut looks baked in, absent horrific Russian errors. The so-called Zelensky line is breaking even before Russia has put its recently-mobilized forces to work in a serious way. Regular commentators are waiting for the Russian hammer to fall, although Russia may simply grind more forcefully by pressing harder at more points along the very long line of contact. Remember one concern on the Russian side is avoiding “winning” in a way that leads to NATO panic and desperate action … not that the Collective West’s fragile emotional state can be readily managed. 

  With that context, you’d expect some members of the press to have worked out that things are not going very well for Ukraine and the classic cowboy movie rescue of the calvary riding over the hill (here in the form of tanks and artillery) will be too little, too late. 

  Instead, the media seems to be trying to integrate snippets of facts on the ground with the heroic tale of inevitable Ukraine victory.  

Read more ….  

WNU Editor: A lot of details in this report/analysis. What caught my eye was the importance of Bakhmut to the Ukraine military and the massive army that has been deployed to hold it ….

…. Soledar and Bakhmut are bleeding the Ukrainian army dry. That is of relevance. Look at the insane number of Ukrainian units deployed on that only 50 kilometer (30mi) long sector of the front (see map below).

Source: Military Land Deployment Mapbigger 

 I count the equivalent of some 27 brigade size formations in that area. The usual size of a brigade is some 3,000 to 4,000 men with hundreds of all kinds of vehicles. If all brigades had their full strength that force would count as 97,500 men. In a recent interview the Ukrainian military commander Zaluzhny said that his army has 200,000 men trained to fight with 500,000 more having other functions or currently being trained. The forces which are currently getting mauled in the Bakhmut area constitute 50% of Ukraine’s battle ready forces.

Regular readers of this blog know that for the past month I have been stressing the importance of Bakhmut in this war. That after the battle for Mariuopol last year, this is now the biggest battle of the war. 

Now we know the numbers. On both sides there are probably over 200,000 soldiers involved in the fight, and the Russian military is holding the advantage in fire-power.