- Written by Kathryn Armstrong
- BBC News
Ukraine’s commander-in-chief says the battle for Bakhmut, the Ukrainian city that Russia has spent months trying to capture, is “stabilizing”.
Valery Zaluzhny said that Russia’s “tremendous efforts” were being hampered by Ukrainian forces.
Earlier this month, Western officials estimated between 20,000 and 30,000 Russian soldiers have been killed or wounded at Bakhmut since last summer.
Moscow is eager for a victory after failing to make significant gains recently.
Despite this, Bakhmut is believed by military analysts to have little strategic value, with the city now of symbolic importance.
Analysts say the large number of Russian casualties may be the main reason why Ukraine has not withdrawn from the city.
in Facebook, Said Lieutenant General Zaluzhnyi that while the situation on the front lines of Ukraine “is the most difficult in the Bakhmut direction … due to the tremendous efforts of the defense forces, we are managing to stabilize the situation.”
Lieutenant-General Zalogny deployed after speaking to the British Chief of the Defense Staff, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, about the situation in Ukraine.
His remarks are the latest positive signal from Ukrainian officials about the long battle for Bakhmut.
Britain’s Ministry of Defense said on Saturday that the Russian offensive on Bakhmut has been “largely halted,” citing “serious depletion” of Russian force as the reason, and added that Russia has likely shifted its operational focus to the south and north of Bakhmut.
The UK said such moves could signal “a general return to a more defensive operational design” after Russia failed to achieve significant results from its attempts to launch a general offensive since January.
Earlier this week, Oleksandr Sersky, the country’s ground forces commander, said Russian forces were “exhausted” near Bakhmut.
Sersky added that while Russia “has not given up hope of capturing Bakhmut at any cost despite losses in manpower and equipment… it is losing significant strength.”
Footage showed him in an old warehouse giving medals to the soldiers, whom he described as “heroes”.
The War Institute, a think tank, He said on Thursday Although the Wagner Group still outnumbers Ukraine, Ukrainian forces “continue to drain mercenaries, which will enable Ukrainian forces to pursue unspecified future offensive operations.”
Wagner, a private mercenary organization, is at the center of the Russian attack on Bakhmut. Its leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, staked his reputation on taking the city.
About 70,000 people lived in Bakhmut before the invasion, but only a few thousand are left.
Its capture would bring Russia a little closer to controlling the entire Donetsk region, one of four regions in eastern and southern Ukraine that Russia illegally annexed last September.
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