The situation in Bakhmut in the east of Ukraine is critical for the Ukrainian forces, Ukrainian Deputy Minister of Defense Hanna Malyarová admitted today. This happened not long after Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the Russian private military Wagner group, announced the complete capture of the city. Kyiv subsequently denied Prigozhin’s claim, but Malyarova’s announcement on the Telegram platform showed that Ukrainian defenders are holding positions in only one district of the city, which is located in its southwestern part.
“There is fierce fighting in Bachmut. The situation is critical. At the same time, our troops are holding the defense in the district called Letadlo. Currently, our defenders have under their control some industrial and infrastructure buildings in this district, as well as a residential area,” said Maljarová.
Her statement came not long after the Russian mercenary chief announced the full occupation of Bakhmut by Russian forces. “Today at noon, Bakhmut was fully captured. We completely occupied the entire city, house by house,” Prigozhin said in an announcement published on the Telegram platform, according to Reuters. He added that his men would start leaving the city from Wednesday and hand it over to the regular Russian army. Similar claims cannot be immediately verified from independent sources in a time of ongoing fighting. In the past, Prigozhin repeatedly published claims about the conquest of Ukrainian villages by his men, which were later not confirmed, the BBC points out on its Russian-language website.
“It’s not true. Our troops in Bakhmut are still fighting,” Serhiy Cherevaty, spokesman for the eastern group of Ukrainian troops, rejected Prigozhin’s announcement in a comment to Reuters.
Earlier, according to the Unian agency, in a television broadcast, Cherevatyj spoke about the fact that the Russians are not succeeding in capturing Ukrainian positions in the city and also pointed to the local successes of the Ukrainian army. According to Unian, he was responding to information spread by Russian propaganda about the alleged capture of the city by Russian forces.
Russian forces have been trying to capture Bakhmut for nine months. In recent days, the Russian army has very likely moved new units to the city, the British Ministry of Defense said today. Maljarová also drew attention to the movement of Russian reserves to the Bakhmut area this week. In recent days, however, there have also been reports of successful local counterattacks by the Ukrainian army, which were also confirmed by foreign analysts.
Reports of Ukrainian successes mainly concerned Ukrainian advances along the northern and southern edges of Bakhmut. Reuters noted that it was the fastest Ukrainian advance in six months and that Prigozhin spoke about the danger of his fighters being surrounded.
Regarding the Ukrainian counterattacks in the Bakhmut area, the American Institute for the Study of War wrote in its latest analysis of the situation in Ukraine that they probably largely averted the threat of encircling the Ukrainians by Russian forces.
The Russian independent portal Meduza pointed out that the district in the southwest of the city, where, according to its information, Ukrainian defenders are still holding, is on a hill. According to him, the place with several damaged multi-storey apartment buildings is of strategic importance. The Ukrainian defenders have been fighting for it with the enemy since February. The portal also published a photo of the neighborhood from pre-war times, noting that some of the houses it depicts no longer exist.
Source: Tyden.cz by www.tyden.cz.
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