HomeBreaking NewsHeavy losses reported as battle for Bakhmut rages - BBC News World

Heavy losses reported as battle for Bakhmut rages – BBC News World

image source, AFP via Getty Images


Ukrainian servicemen travel to Bakhmut on Saturday

Ukraine and Russia have reported inflicting heavy losses as the battle for Bakhmut continues.

Moscow has been trying to take the eastern Ukrainian city for months in a war of attrition.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russian forces had suffered more than 1,100 deaths in recent days, with many more seriously injured.

Russia said it had killed more than 220 Ukrainian servicemen in the past 24 hours.

The BBC cannot verify the numbers given by either party.

Analysts say Bakhmut has little strategic value, but has become a focal point for Russian commanders who have struggled to deliver positive news to the Kremlin.

Capturing the city would bring Russia one step closer to its goal of controlling the entire Donetsk region, one of four regions in eastern and southern Ukraine annexed by Russia last September following referendums widely condemned outside Russia as a sham. .

Ukrainian commanders, who have committed significant resources to defend the city, say their strategy is aimed at tying down Russian forces and preventing Moscow from launching more offensives in the coming months.

“In less than a week, starting on March 6, we managed to kill more than 1,100 enemy soldiers in the Bakhmut sector alone, the irreversible loss of Russia, right there, near Bakhmut,” Zelensky said in his video speech. night.

He added that 1,500 Russian soldiers were wounded enough to keep them out of action.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said Russian forces had killed “more than 220 Ukrainian servicemen.”

The commander of Ukraine’s ground forces, Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi, said the Russian mercenary Wagner Group was attacking his troops from various directions in an attempt to break through the defenses and advance towards the city’s central districts.

The paramilitary organization is at the center of the Russian assault on Bakhmut. His leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, has staked his reputation and that of his private army on seizing Bakhmut.

He said on Sunday that the situation in the city was “difficult, very difficult, the enemy is fighting every meter.”

“And the closer to the city center, the fiercer the fighting,” he said in a voice recording posted on Telegram.

After his planned capture of Bakhmut, “we will start to reset” and “start recruiting new people from the regions,” he said.

And on Saturday, the Institute for the Study of War, a US think tank, reported that Moscow’s offensive was stalling.

“Group Wagner fighters are likely to be increasingly trapped in urban areas…and therefore find it difficult to make significant advances.” He said.

There were around 70,000 people living in Bakhmut before the invasion, but only a few thousand remain. The town was once best known for its salt and gypsum mines and huge winery.

Like Russia, Ukraine has also given Bakhmut political importance, with President Zelensky making the city an emblem of resistance.

When he visited Washington in December, he called it “the fortress of our morals” and presented a Bakhmut flag to the US Congress.

Western officials estimate that between 20,000 and 30,000 Russian soldiers have been killed or wounded so far in and around Bakhmut.

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