Yesterday, Kiev admitted that the Russian forces had made gains in and around the city of Bakhmut, which has been witnessing the fiercest battles on the eastern front for several months.
And the Ukrainian Deputy Minister of Defense, Hana Malyar, stated that Moscow forces “made some gains inside the city (Bakhmut) itself, but they do not control it and the fighting continues.”
“They are trying to recover what they lost… but our forces are repelling the attacks,” she added, in remarks broadcast on state television. It is very difficult to carry out combat missions there, and every meter (we are advancing) is equal to 10 kilometers in other circumstances.” It said that Russian forces had made “some progress” inside Bakhmut, but did not say how far they had advanced.
Bakhmut did not fall
In turn, the head of the Russian paramilitary “Wagner” group ruled out the fall of the city in the next two days. He stated that the Ukrainian soldiers holed up in a site south of the city.
“It is unlikely that Bakhmut will be completely taken tomorrow or the day after tomorrow,” Yevgeny Prigozhin said in a message on the “Telegram” application, referring to fierce battles on the southwestern outskirts of the city.
He added, “We have not taken Bakhmut yet,” explaining that “there is a suburb called Samolit that looks like an impregnable fortress consisting of rows of buildings that form a dam (…) and the most difficult battles are taking place there now.” Therefore, Prigozhin continued. There is an important request: Happiness loves silence… Let us finish our work.”
Ukraine had announced two days ago that it had taken control of more than twenty square kilometers on the outskirts of Bakhmut, but at the same time it admitted that Russian forces were continuing to advance in the same city that had been destroyed by months of fighting.
The battle for this city in the Donbass region is the fiercest and longest since the war began. Observers question the strategic importance of Bakhmut for Russia, but this will allow Moscow to achieve victory after several setbacks.
In the southeast, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu visited the Zaporizhia region, according to what the Defense Ministry announced yesterday, at a time when Kiev says it has completed its preparations for a large-scale offensive. The ministry said in a statement that “the Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation, General Sergei Shoigu, inspected the advanced command center of one of the formations of the Eastern Military Group in the Zaporizhia region,” without specifying the date of the visit.
The Ukrainian army said that the air defense repelled a new Russian air attack early yesterday morning. As a result, 19 of the drones and missiles were destroyed out of the 28 launched.
“Three missiles were launched from the Black Sea and 16 drones were shot down,” Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Yuriy Ihnat told Ukrainian TV. The bombing continues almost daily.” “Not all targets were hit,” he added.