Kos covered how AFU forces launched an offensive in Western Bakhmut that pushed Russian forces 2-3 km back in a single day, freeing up the flow of Ukrainian troops and supplies along the critical T0504 roadway that leads to Bakhmut from the west.
I just wanted to connect the dots here, and explain why this offensive in Bakhmut was preceded by a prior offensive on March 9th-10th that contested Mayorsk, 20km south of Bakhmut, as covered by Mark.
The flow of Russian supplies into Bakhmut come from 2 directions—from the South, via Mayorsk. From the East, via Popasna (Orig Image Credit: Mark Summers)
Particularly the Russian supplies on the Southern side of Bakhmut almost certainly relies heavily on supplies coming up the railway and highway running South.
ISW, Warmapper, Noel Report and most other daily updating control mappers continue to place the area around Mayorsk as “contested” and it appears AFU controls a series of trenches and the high ground west of Mayorsk, about 1-2km west of the highway.
In other words, it appears Ukraine has at least partial fire control over Russian transportation from the South, restricting Russia’s ability to bring supplies and reinforcements from that direction.
I don’t think the fact Ukraine then launched a counter offensive a week later to be a coincidence—the offensive operation at Mayorsk now restricts the ability of Russia to rush reinforcements and supplies to take back the high ground south of the T0504 highway.
It appears quite clear that the two operations are conceptually linked, and indeed the latter offensive operation may very well have been preconditioned on the success of the former.
It should be difficult for Russia to conduct an effective counteroffensive to bring this area back under Russian control without first pushing back AFU gains near Mayorsk.