Northern Eurasia 2023: Battle of Bakhmut
After the 2022 invasion of Ukraine met strong resistance from the Ukrainians, Russian president Vladimir Putin redeployed Russian troops from the Kyiv front to eastern and southern Ukraine, which he declared annexed in September. Despite this, Russia continued to face setbacks into late 2022 as the Ukrainians pushed them from Kherson and the Kharkiv region. Fighting was particularly intense around Bakhmut, which the Russians recovered in early 2023 at the expense of perhaps 100,000 casualties.
18 Apr 2022–pres. Battle of Donbas▲
After abandoning the Battle of Kyiv in late March 2022, Russia redirected the focus of its invasion of Ukraine to the Donbas region in mid-April, with an offensive to secure complete control of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. The first few months of the operation saw repeated Russian gains and by July they were in control of more than half of the Donetsk region and the entire Luhansk region. At this point, however, the Russian advance stalled and in September the Ukrainian counteroffensive hit both oblasts, leaving the Donbas as disputed as ever.
1 Aug 2022–pres. Battle of Bakhmut▲
In August 2022 the Russian military launched a major offensive to capture the small but recently reinforced Donbas city of Bakhmut from the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Despite initially being of minor tactical importance, the struggle over Bakhmut soon became one of the central battles of the Russo-Ukrainian War, with the Russians suffering some 100,000 casualties for over 20,000 Ukrainian losses by the middle of 2023. Most affected were the mercenaries of the Russian paramilitary organization Wagner Group, who bore the brunt of the fighting and suffered, by Ukrainian estimates, 81,000 casualties by which time they had, on the insistence of Wagner leadership, been replaced in the city by regular Russian troops.
29 Aug–11 Nov 2022 Kherson counteroffensive▲
After making multiple strikes against Russian military targets, Ukraine launched a major counteroffensive to expel Russian forces from the south of the Kherson and Mykolaiv oblasts in late August 2022. By 9 November Ukrainian advances threatened to isolate Kherson—the only regional capital to have fallen to the Russians since the start of the invasion—and Russian troops were ordered to withdraw across the Dnieper. Ukrainian forces liberated the city two days later, bringing the campaign to a successful conclusion.
6 Sep–24 Oct 2022 Kharkiv counteroffensive▲
In early September 2022 Ukraine launched a counteroffensive in the vicinity of Kharkiv, attacking Russian forces in eastern Ukraine. Advancing steadily, the Ukrainians drove the Russians from Kharkiv Oblast by early October and in the same month recaptured a number of Russian-occupied villages in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. After this the offensive ground to a halt, with the onset of winter conditions making further advances difficult.
30 Sep 2022 Russian annexation of southeast Ukraine▲
On 30 September 2022 the Russian Federation unilaterally declared the annexation of the southeast Ukrainian oblasts of Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson, just days after conducting internationally unrecognized referendums and despite the fact that none of these regions were under complete Russian control. Regardless of how the territory is measured, it was the largest annexation in Europe since World War II, but remains unrecognized by any country outside Russia except for North Korea.