Soledar, Bakhmut, Khoromov, Maryinka: The Settlements Conquered by Russians in 2023, as the ‘War of Attrition’ Intensifies

Reflecting on the disastrous 2023 summer offensive, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said, by way of an apparent excuse, that Russians also didn’t fare well, and ‘failed to capture any settlements this year’.

Like so many things the ‘defender of democracy’ says, this is far from true.

While it is indeed true that most of the year was spent in positional battles, in a ‘war of attrition’ along the 600 mile long frontline, Russian forces had successes in various places and took quite a few settlements and towns – including winning the longest and bloodiest siege since the Second World War.


2023 began with increased activity in the Donetsk Oblast, most specially in the frontline settlement of Soledar, which literally means ‘a gift of salt’ in Russian, reflecting its prominent salt-mining industry.

American Think Tank ISW reported in its inimitable coping fashion:

“Russian forces’ likely capture of Soledar on January 11 is not an operationally significant development and is unlikely to presage an imminent Russian encirclement of Bakhmut.

Geolocated footage posted on January 11 and 12 indicates that Russian forces likely control most if not all of Soledar, and have likely pushed Ukrainian forces out of the western outskirts of the settlement.”

Every western source will downplay the settlements that Russia conquer as ‘meaningless piles of rubble’, while treating the few villages Ukraine took like Rabotyno, as if it’s Paris.

Read: A Soldier’s Death: Final Message in the Wall by Ambushed Russian Fighter Goes Viral

Russian military bloggers posted footage on January 12 of Wagner Group fighters freely walking in Soledar alongside Russian forces. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov congratulated Russian forces for successful offensive operations in the settlement.


Next, the luminaries at ISW, that include former CIA Director General David Petraeus, make their informed prediction:

“Russian information operations have overexaggerated the importance of Soledar, which is at best a Russian Pyrrhic tactical victory. ISW continues to assess that the capture of Soledar—a settlement smaller than 5.5 square miles—will not enable Russian forces to exert control over critical Ukrainian ground lines of communication (GLOCs) into Bakhmut nor better position Russian forces to encircle the city in the short term.”

WRONG. That was exactly what happened, as Russian forces geared for the bloodiest battle since ‘The Patriotic War’ against the Nazis.

Read: ‘Bakhmut Has Fallen!’ – Russian Forces on the Brink of Capturing Strategic Donbas City – Ukrainians Control Half a Square Mile – Last Stronghold Under Heavy Attack

In March, as the cauldron began to encircle the city, I wrote here on TGP:

“The Battle for Bakhmut/Artyomovsk has been widely considered one of the toughest since the Second World War. So bloody has it been, that terms like ‘meat grinder’ and ‘vortex’ are applied to it daily.

Artyomovsk (Russian name) is an important city in the Donbas, the Russian-speaking region comprised of the Luhansk and Donetsk Oblasts (states). The defense of the ethnic Russians in this region was one of the primary objectives of Putin in his Special Military Operation, so the capture of this key regional logistics and transport hub is crucial to the Russian plans of liberating the areas of Donetsk Oblast still under Kiev’s control.

While US and UK officials have, as of late, tried to downplay the strategic importance of Bakhmut (Ukrainian name), deeming it to be merely ‘symbolic’, Ukrainian president Zelensky stated that a loss in Bakhmut would mean an open road for Russian forced to attack other important cities in Eastern Ukraine.

As for the symbolic value of Bakhmut, Zelensky called it the ‘the fortress of our morale’, so it’s understandable that he and his Generals may have chosen to defend it to the end, rather than retreat their overwhelmed troops while they still could. But ‘the end’ appears to be nearing.”

In May, finally, Al Jazeera reported;

“Russia has claimed to have fully captured Ukraine’s Bakhmut, with President Vladimir Putin congratulating his troops and the mercenary Wagner Group for taking the largely levelled eastern city.

The Russian announcement on Saturday came hours after Kyiv said the battle was still continuing while admitting the situation was “critical”.

Bakhmut, a salt-mining town that once had a population of 70,000 people, has been the scene of the longest and bloodiest battle in Russia’s 15-month war in Ukraine.

[…] Vladimir Putin congratulated the assault units of Wagner as well as all servicemen of units of the Russian armed forces who provided them with the necessary support and flank cover, on the completion of the operation to liberate the city”, the TASS state news agency quoted a Kremlin statement as saying.”

Moscow’s victory was not to be followed by a big offensive, but rather, Russians dug in and prepared formidable defensive fortifications and minefields that Ukraine just could not overtake on its Summer offensive, no matter how much military aid the West threw at it.

Read: Russian Forces Break Through in Northern Kharkov Region, Heading for Logistics Hub Kupyansk – Ukrainians Order Evacuation of Dozens of Settlements in the Region

Outskirts of Kupiansk.

The Russian ‘Active defense’ doctrine does not preclude the troops from exploiting opportunities that present themselves, and so it surfaced in August a TASS report that “the territory of the Kharkiv region, controlled by Russian forces, has grown by five settlements in a week – up to 33 settlements. This was announced by the head of the military-civilian administration of the Kharkiv region Vitaly Ganchev on the air of Soloviev.”

The Russians forces spread through the Northern Ukrainian region and reached the outskirts of Kupyansk. The situation became so grave that widespread evacuation was implemented.

Associated Press reported on August 10th:

“Ukrainian authorities ordered a mandatory evacuation Thursday of nearly 12,000 civilians from 37 towns and villages in the eastern Kharkiv region, where Russian forces reportedly are making a concerted effort to punch through the front line.

The local military administration in Kharkiv’s Kupiansk district said residents must comply with the evacuation order or sign a document saying they would stay at their own risk. Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar had said the previous day that “the intensity of combat and enemy shelling is high” in the area.

The city of Kupiansk and the territories around it were under Russian occupation until September 2022, when Ukrainian forces conducted a rapid offensive operation that dislodged the Kremlin’s forces from nearly the entire Kharkiv region.

Fighting for Khoromov.

Come November, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced the liberation of Artemovskoye (Khromove) in the Donetsk region.

Khromove is a small village on the outskirts of Bakhmut in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region.

The Moscow Times reported:

“Troops, supported by aviation and artillery fire, improved their positions along the front line and liberated the village of Artemovskoye,” Russia’s Defense Ministry said in a daily briefing, referring to the village by a previous version of its name.”

Russia is probing weaknesses up and down the frontline in Donetsk region that Russia annexed last year.

Moscow still does not have full control over the region.

Read: Russian Forces Take Heavily Fortified Town of Maryinka in Biggest Triumph Since Bakhmut

 The year is ending on an upbeat note for the Russian Federation troops that have just conquered the heavily fortified town of Maryinka, in the outskirts of Donetsk city.

Entering Maryinka.

This is a major development, the biggest since Moscow troops regained the initiative, and also the greatest achievement since they gained control of Avdiivka (Bakhmut) in May.

Read: Siege of Avdiivka – WATCH: Russian Tank Forces Kiev’s Troops to Retreat – Female Ukrainian Soldier Terrified in the Trenches – Moscow Now Also Blasting Cluster Munitions

By taking Maryinka, the Russians have significantly pushed back the Ukrainian artillery. For years, Kiev used Maryinka has a key launching pad for drone and artillery strikes against civilians in Donetsk.

Reuters reported:

“Putin said control of the town, which was once home to 10,000 people, will allow the Russian forces to move enemy combat units away from Donetsk.

‘Our troops (now) have the opportunity to reach a wider operational area’, he said in a video of the exchange between him and Shoigu posted online by a Kremlin journalist.”

President Putin as reported on Sputnik:

“I would like to congratulate you. This is a success. Pass on the words of gratitude to all the staff and fighters who took part at different times and at different stages [of the liberation].”

Troops from the 150th Motorized Rifle Division distinguished themselves in the settlement’s capture. That’s the same legendary Division which famously captured the Reichstag building in Berlin in WW2.

Read: Russians Are Advancing ‘On All Sides’! Watch: Victory Banner Flies Over Maryinka – Missiles at Tunnels Under Coke Plant in Avdiivka – Su-25 Aircraft Blasted by Lancet Drone

2023 is ending, but the war is far from it.

Heavily fortified and highly strategic town of Avdiivka is semi-encircled by Russian forces, and openly rebellious Ukrainian General Valery Zaluzhny has stated that it may fall in two months, unless the international aid flows again.

So, when Ukraine’s Zelensky says Russians have not conquered any settlements this year, we respectfully beg to differ.

Never-ending Ukrainian cemeteries.

The ‘war of attrition’ doctrine focuses not so much in territorial conquest, as in the relentless degrading of the enemy capabilities, to the point where it becomes so weakened as to propitiate unstoppable offensive actions.

In this sense, the great victory for Russia was its defense of the Ukrainian summer offensive, where wave after wave of NATO equipped and trained fighters were slaughtered without resulting in any meaningful advances.

Now, as Kiev mobilizes the old, the infirm and even women, and the super military aid packages are in the past, we may start to see how the attrition warfare unfolds.

Read more:

Mainstream Media Bitterly Comes to Terms With Vladimir Putin’s Successes in the Ukraine War

The post Soledar, Bakhmut, Khoromov, Maryinka: The Settlements Conquered by Russians in 2023, as the ‘War of Attrition’ Intensifies appeared first on The Gateway Pundit.

By: Paul Serran
Title: Soledar, Bakhmut, Khoromov, Maryinka: The Settlements Conquered by Russians in 2023, as the ‘War of Attrition’ Intensifies
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Published Date: Wed, 27 Dec 2023 14:15:41 +0000

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I'm a writer for lifestyle publications, and when I'm not crafting stories, you'll find me cherishing moments with my family, including my lovely daughter. My heart also belongs to my pets—Sushi, Snowy, Belle, and Pepper. Besides writing, I enjoy watching movies and exploring new places through travel.