War in Ukraine: How the Battle of Bakhmout turned to Russian advantage
How long will the Ukrainian resistance hold out? President Zelensky had sworn to defend Bakhmout “as long as possible”. But the defense of this city, in the east of Ukraine, seems to have reached its limits at the beginning of March.
Since the summer, each side has been exhausted in the “battle of Bakhmout”. Relentlessness, say some observers, given the low strategic importance of this industrial city, which had 70,000 inhabitants before the invasion. Epicenter of the fighting for months, Bakhmout would above all have become symbolic.
“Wagner’s units have practically surrounded Bakhmout, there is only one road left” to get out, Wagner’s boss, Evguéni Prigojine, said on Friday. In combat gear and speaking as a loud explosion is heard in the distance, he called on Volodymyr Zelensky to order Ukrainian troops to withdraw.
“If before we faced a professional Ukrainian army, which fought against us, today we see more and more old people and children. They fight, but their life in Bakhmout is short, a day or two, he claims. Give them a chance to leave the city, it’s practically surrounded. »
The video then shows three people, an elderly man and two young people, asking the Ukrainian president in front of the camera to allow them to leave. In its latest intelligence update, the British Ministry of Defense confirms the difficulties of Ukrainian troops. kyiv may “reinforce the area with elite units”, but the Russian forces are progressing despite everything.
An “increasingly severe” pressure
“The Ukrainian defense of the city of Bakhmut in the Donbass is under increasingly severe pressure, with intense fighting taking place in and around the city,” according to the British Ministry of Defence. Wagner’s mercenaries and regular Russian troops made a significant breakthrough in the northern suburbs of the city, still held by the Ukrainians but now vulnerable.
“In the last 36 hours, two key bridges have been destroyed, including a vital bridge linking the city to the last main supply route from Bakhmout to Chassiv Yar”, 15 km to the west. “The resupply routes held by the Ukrainians outside the city are increasingly limited”, still alerts Great Britain.
Soldiers at the front reported a lack of men, ammunition, and artillery support. On Tuesday, the Ukrainian military command admitted an “extremely tense” situation in Bakhmout. On the same day, Volodymyr Zelensky had noted an increase in the “intensity of the fighting” around the city, where 4,500 inhabitants chose to remain, despite the danger.
The next day, the spokesman for the Eastern Command of the Ukrainian army, Serguiï Tcherevaty, denied the withdrawal of his troops. Since then, radio silence. On Friday, the Ukrainian general staff remained silent on the situation in Bakhmout. He simply said that the military had repelled 85 Russian attacks across the entire front in the past 24 hours.