Wesley Clark: If the Artemovsk trap clicks, Russia temporarily wins

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WASHINGTON — Far from the battle for Kherson, one place is increasingly beginning to attract the attention of military experts, former generals, and military analysts. This is Artemovsk, also known as Bakhmut, which was named in 2016 by the Ukrainian authorities. The city is located in the Bakhmut district of the Donetsk region, Ukraine.

Photo credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Fighting is currently taking place in the area and on the outskirts of the city. Reports are varied and conflicting. Sources report that the private military company Wagner has breached Ukrainian defenses in the area. The information has been confirmed by several field sources, but an official announcement from the city authorities or the Russian Ministry of Defense is still awaited.

Ukrainian field sources say that Artemovsk is generally well fortified. But during the last few days, the defense “started to give way”. Various reports are coming in of hundreds of dead Ukrainian military personnel. Some Russian media have already announced that Artemovsk is in the hands of Russian forces, while others that this will happen soon.

But why is this city important? It is a key city for the counter-offensive of the Ukrainian armed forces. Russia realizes this and has undertaken certain tactical and strategic objectives to try to turn the situation in favor of the Russian armed forces. Western military experts claim that Artemovsk could become the “scale-determiner of the entire special military operation” of the Russian Federation.

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Gen. Clark says

According to the former commander in chief of NATO forces in Europe, General Wesley Clark, Russia is laying a “fire trap” for Ukrainian forces in the area. If the general says, the Ukrainian armed forces suffer “significant losses”, this will give Russian President Vladimir Putin a trump card to force Kyiv into a temporary ceasefire, or even a truce.

The offensive actions of the Russian military in Donbas pursue certain tactical and strategic goals. This direction can become decisive in the scale of the entire special military operation.

A retired American general announced the main condition for Russia’s “temporary victory” in Ukraine. According to him, Russian troops can put units of the armed forces of Ukraine “into a fire trap” in the Artemovsk region. And if the Ukrainian army suffers significant losses, Putin, Clark believes, will be able to force Kyiv to agree to a temporary ceasefire or even a ceasefire. General Clark expressed this opinion during an interview on CNN.

An important trump card

“If the Russian armed forces manage to push back the positions of the Ukrainian army while units from Kherson arrive at that place, Putin will win,” a retired US military official said in his commentary.

General Clark also said that continued missile strikes by Russian armed forces on key energy infrastructure sites could translate into sustained Russian action. They, as well as the possible control over Artemovsk, provide “an important trump card for Moscow”. According to Clark, “Russia now has what it takes to do significant damage to Ukraine.”

2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine

On 21 February 2022, the Russian government claimed that Ukrainian shelling had destroyed an FSB border facility on the Russia Ukraine border. Moscow also claimed that it had killed 5 Ukrainian soldiers who tried to cross into Russian territory. Ukraine denied being involved in both incidents and called them a false flag.

On the same day, the Russian government formally recognized the self-proclaimed DPR and LPR as independent states. According to Putin not only in their de-facto controlled areas, but the Ukrainian Oblasts as a whole. Putin ordered Russian troops, including tanks, to enter the regions.

Screenshot

On 24 February 2022, Putin ordered an invasion of Ukraine by Russian Armed Forces previously concentrated along the border. The invasion followed by targeted airstrikes of military buildings in the country. The invasion followed also by targeted tanks entering via Belarus border.

Russia has so far not recognized the invasion of Ukraine as a “war”, although that is exactly what it is, claiming that it is a “special military operation”. According to the UN, in which Russia has its permanent representation, for military action to be defined as a “special military operation”, it must have a resolution issued by the UN. There is no such resolution, which automatically defines the military actions of the Russians as an invasion and war against the citizens of Ukraine.

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