Ukraine’s Commander in Chief Reports Stabilisation in the Battle for Bakhmut Against Russian Aggression

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In the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, Western officials estimate that between 20,000 and 30,000 Russian troops have been killed or injured in the city of Bakhmut since last summer. Despite this, Ukrainian troops are holding back Russian forces, according to Valerii Zaluzhnyi, a Lieutenant General in the Ukrainian military. While Bakhmut has little strategic value, its importance has become symbolic. Despite losing significant strength, Russia has not given up hope of taking the city, with Ukrainian officials reporting that Russian troops are “exhausted” near Bakhmut. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky recently visited the frontline near Bakhmut and awarded medals to soldiers. The UK has stated that a Ukrainian counter-attack to the west of Bakhmut is likely to relieve pressure on a supply route to the city and that Russia’s attack on the city could be losing its “limited momentum.” However, Ukrainian defence remains at risk from envelopment from the north and south. Despite being outnumbered by the Wagner group, Ukrainian forces are continuing to exhaust the mercenaries, which could enable them to pursue unspecified future offensive operations. Wagner, a private, mercenary organization, is at the heart of the Russian assault on Bakhmut. Its leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, has staked his reputation on seizing the city. Bakhmut was home to about 70,000 people before the invasion, but only a few thousand remain. If captured, it would bring Russia slightly closer to controlling the whole of the Donetsk region, one of four regions in eastern and southern Ukraine illegally annexed by Russia last September.

 

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