Russian Defense Minister pays rare frontline visit as forces close in on Bakhmut
Russia has been focused on seizing Bakhmut for much-needed success that could also serve as a springboard to the rest of Ukraine’s industrial heartland, known as the Donbass region.
Ukraine has sought to wear down Russian forces by forcing a protracted fight for a city it says has limited strategic value, but on Saturday the country’s armed forces said in a Facebook post that “the enemy does not stop trying to encircle the town of Bakhmut.
He added that the attacks were repelled in the villages of Ivanivske and Bohdanivka, both located less than 8 km west of downtown Bakhmut. Capture of these villages, which flank the crucial Bakhmut-Chasiv Yar road on either side, would leave the city on the brink of being totally encircled by Russia.
Meanwhile, the British Ministry of Defense said in its regular intelligence bulletin on Saturday that Russian troops had made further advances in Bakhmut, along with forces from the Wagner Group, a private paramilitary contractor.
“In the past 36 hours, two key bridges in Bakhmut have been destroyed,” the bulletin said, and that “Ukrainian-held supply routes out of town are increasingly limited.”
Ukraine’s actions suggest it may be considering pulling out of parts of the city, the Institute for the Study of Warfare, a Washington-based think tank, said Friday.
He said Ukrainian troops could “carry out a limited and controlled withdrawal from particularly difficult sections of eastern Bakhmut”, while seeking to inhibit Russian movement there and limit exit routes to the west.
Elsewhere in the southeastern city of Zaporizhzhia, rescuers found the bodies of three other people on Saturday after the Russian bombardment of a five-story building on Thursday, Ukrainian emergency services said on Saturday. a message on Facebook.
This brought the total death toll to 10, he added, adding that a child was among the dead.
NBC News is unable to verify the death toll, and Russia denies deliberately targeting civilians and residential buildings, which is a war crime.
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