Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu confirmed, on Tuesday, that controlling Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine is essential to advance further into the territory of the western neighbor.
“The city constitutes an important defense center for the Ukrainian forces in the Donbass region. Control of it will allow additional attacks in the depth of the defense lines of the Ukrainian armed forces,” he said during a televised conference with the leaders of the Russian army.
He also continued, “Increasing arms supplies from NATO to Kiev does not lead to the success of the Ukrainian forces on the battlefield, but on the contrary increases their losses.”
In addition, he explained that the losses of the Ukrainian army during the month of February increased by 40% compared to January and amounted to 11 thousand soldiers, stressing the continuation of the implementation of tasks within the framework of the Russian military operation for Ukraine.
Half of the city is in the hands of Moscow
In the same context, the advisor to the Acting President of Donetsk, Jan Gagin, announced that Russian forces control about half of the city of Bakhmut.
He told a local channel, today, Tuesday, “Our artillery, equipment, and forces are in the city, and they control about half of the city.”
He also added, “Ukrainian soldiers are trying to flee in small groups from the city using rural roads,” noting that he does not rule out attempts by Ukrainian forces to penetrate in order to preserve the city.
It is noteworthy that Russia is trying to encircle Bakhmut – located 55 km northeast of Donetsk – an important transport hub to supply and control Ukrainian forces in Donbass from all sides, to secure its first major victory in more than half a year at the height of a winter offensive that turned into more The battles are bloodiest during the war.
According to the latest information, Russian forces have taken control of all paved roads leading to Bakhmut, which greatly impedes the supply of Ukrainian units present in the city.
While the bloody fighting depleted the artillery reserves of both sides, amid thousands of shells being fired daily along the eastern and southern fronts.
From the vicinity of Bakhmut (AFP)
However, despite the losses, Moscow insists on seizing the city, considering that this would be an important step towards its main goal of seizing the entire territory of the surrounding Donbass region.
On the other hand, Kiev considers that the losses that Russia will incur as a result of its attempt to seize the city may determine the future course of the war by destroying its combat forces before the decisive battles that will rage later this year.
He also indicated that Ukrainian soldiers are trying to flee in small groups from the city using rural roads, indicating that he does not rule out attempts by Ukrainian forces to penetrate in order to preserve the city.