Russian advance stalls in Bakhmut
Kyiv, Ukraine –
Russia’s advance appears to have stalled in Moscow’s campaign to seize the eastern Ukrainian town of Bakhmut, a leading think tank said in an assessment of the most long ground battle of war.
The Washington-based Institute for the Study of Warfare said there were no confirmed advances by Russian forces at Bakhmut. Russian forces and units of the Kremlin-controlled paramilitary group Wagner continued to launch ground attacks in the city, but there was no evidence they were able to make any progress, the ISW said on Saturday evening.
The report quoted the spokesman for the Eastern Group of Ukrainian Armed Forces, Serhii Cherevaty, as saying that the fighting in the Bakhmut region had been more intense this week than the previous one. According to Cherevaty, there have been 23 clashes in the city over the past 24 hours.
The ISW report follows allegations of Russian progress earlier this week. Britain’s Ministry of Defense said on Saturday that Kremlin-controlled Wagner Group paramilitary units had seized most of eastern Bakhmut, with a river running through the town now marking the front line of the fighting. The assessment pointed out that the Russian assault will be difficult to sustain without greater personnel losses.
The mining town of Bakhmut is located in Ukraine’s Donetsk province, one of four regions of Ukraine that Russian President Vladimir Putin illegally annexed last year. The Russian army opened the campaign to take control of Bakhmut in August, and both sides suffered staggering casualties. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has vowed not to retreat.
In its latest report released on Sunday, the UK Ministry of Defense said on Sunday that the impact of the heavy casualties Russia continues to suffer in Ukraine varies widely across the country. The ministry’s intelligence update says the major cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg remain “relatively unscathed”, particularly among members of Russia’s elite. By contrast, in many parts of eastern Russia, the death rate as a percentage of the population is “30 to 40 times higher than in Moscow”.
The report pointed out that ethnic minorities are often the hardest hit. In the southern region of Astrakhan, for example, about “75% of the victims come from the Kazakh and Tartar minority populations”.
Russia’s growing losses are reflected in a loss of government control over the country’s information sphere, ISW said. The think tank said Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova confirmed ‘infighting within the Kremlin’s inner circle’ and that the Kremlin had effectively ceded control of the information space. of the country, with Putin unable to regain control easily.
The ISW considers Zakharova’s comments, made at a forum on “Practical and Technological Aspects of Information and Cognitive Warfare in Modern Realities” in Moscow, to be “remarkable” and consistent with longstanding assessments of the think tank on the “deterioration of the Kremlin regime and dynamics of control of the information space.”
Elsewhere in Ukraine, Russian attacks the day before killed at least five people and injured seven others in the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Kherson, local Ukrainian authorities reported Sunday morning.
Donetsk Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said two people were killed in the area, one in the town of Kostyantynivka and one in the village of Tonenke. Four other civilians were injured.
Local officials in the southern province of Kherson confirmed that Russian forces fired 29 times into Ukrainian-held territory in the region on Saturday, with residential areas in the regional capital Kherson coming under fire on three occasions. Three people died in the province and three others were injured.
In Kharkiv province in northeastern Ukraine, the districts of Kharkiv, Chuhuiv and Kupiansk came under fire, but no civilian casualties were reported.
The head of Mykolaiv province in southern Ukraine, Governor Vitali Kim said on Sunday morning that the town of Ochakiv, located at the mouth of the Dnipro River, had come under artillery fire in the first Sunday hours. Cars were set on fire, while private homes and high-rise buildings were damaged. No casualties were reported.
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