The Institute for the Study of War says that Russia's war efforts around Bakhmut in Ukraine suggest that Moscow's forces have fundamentally failed to learn from previous high-casualty campaigns concentrated on objectives of limited operational or strategic significance.
President Vladimir Putin's troops have continually expended combat strength on small settlements around Bakhmut since the end of May; in the last six months, they have only secured small gains, a few kilometres at a time.
According to the ISW, Russia's manpower and equipment have been wearing thin after previous attempts to advance on Bakhmut, which have pinned troops to relatively insignificant settlements for weeks and months at a time.
This pattern of operations mirrors Russia's effort to take Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk earlier in the war.
Experts say that Ukrainian forces essentially allowed Russian troops to concentrate efforts on Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk throughout June and July of this year, two cities near the Luhansk region border of limited operational and strategic significance, in order to capitalise on the continued degradation of Russia's forces and weapons.
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