The Ukrainian army chief of staff said his troops had managed to “stabilize” the situation around Bakhmout, the epicenter for eight months of fighting against Russian forces in eastern Ukraine.
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This city, which had around 70,000 inhabitants before the Russian invasion of Ukraine at the end of February 2022, but which is now deserted by civilians, is the scene of the longest and bloodiest battle since the outbreak of the war.
The “most difficult” situation on the front line is “around Bakhmout”, said late Friday evening Valery Zaluzhny, during a telephone call with the Chief of the British Defense Staff, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin.
“Thanks to the tremendous efforts of the defense forces, we manage to stabilize the situation,” Zaluzhny wrote on Facebook.
Russian forces sometimes report hard-won territory around the city, which has become more of a symbol than a strategic site from a purely military point of view as the fighting continues.
According to a report from the British intelligence services published on Saturday, “Russia’s offensive on the city of Bakhmout, in the Donbass region, has largely come to a standstill”.
“It is very likely above all the result of the extreme attrition of the Russian forces”, specified the British in a press release, stressing that Kyiv had also “suffered heavy human losses”.
Ukrainian ground forces commander Oleksandre Syrsky said on Telegram on Thursday that a counter-offensive could “very soon” be launched against “exhausted” Russian forces near Bakhmout.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited Ukrainian troops near the Bakhmut frontline on Wednesday.
Yevgeny Prigojine, head of the Russian paramilitary group Wagner whose men are on the front line in this battle, said Monday that his forces controlled about 70% of the city.
In recent weeks, Russian forces have advanced north and south of Bakhmut, cutting off several Ukrainian supply routes.
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