Conflicts & War

Russia tightens grip on Bakhmut as Ukrainian troops hold out

Kyiv/Moscow, Mar 4 (EFE).- Russian troops are tightening their encirclement of the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, in the Donetsk region, while Ukraine’s army battles to hold out amid signs of a potential withdrawal.

“Ukrainian forces appear to be setting conditions for a controlled fighting withdrawal from parts of Bakhmut,” the Institute for the Study of War, a United States-based think tank said in its Friday report.

The ISW said that Russian forces have been trying to take Bakhmut, which has a pre-war population of 70,000, since May 2022 and had suffered “devastating casualties” in the process.

Alexander Rodnyansky, an assessor to Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, acknowledged this week that Kyiv could opt to give up certain positions in Bakhmut if deemed necessary.

He added, however, that Ukrainian troops would fortify their positions in the west of the city to prevent Russia from capturing it in its totality.

“Geolocated footage posted on March 3 confirms that Ukrainian troops have destroyed two critical bridges in the Bakhmut area—one across the Bakhmutivka River in northeastern Bakhmut and one along the Khromove-Bakhmut route just west of Bakhmut,” the ISW said.

“The preemptive destruction of bridges is likely an indicator that Ukrainian troops may seek to inhibit Russian movement in eastern Bakhmut and limit potential westward Russian egress routes out of Bakhmut.”

The situation in Bakhmut was commented on by British intelligence in its daily report Saturday.

“The Ukrainian defence of the Donbas town of Bakhmut is under increasingly severe pressure, with intense fighting taking place in and around the city,” the United Kingdom’s defense ministry said. EFE


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