Bakhmut Battle: Ukraine Reports Heavy Losses in Ongoing War

As the battle for Bakhmut continues, Ukraine and Russia say they have caused much damage.

For months, Moscow has been fighting a long, slow war to take over the eastern Ukrainian city.

The president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, said that more than 1,100 Russian soldiers had died in the last few days, and many more had been seriously hurt.

Russia said that in the last 24 hours, it had killed more than 220 Ukrainian soldiers.

The BBC can’t check the numbers that either side gives.

Bakhmut Battle Ukraine Reports Heavy Losses in Ongoing War

Analysts say that Bakhmut isn’t very important from a strategic point of view, but it has become a focus for Russian commanders who need help getting good news to the Kremlin.

If Russia took over the city, it would be closer to its goal of controlling the whole Donetsk region. Donetsk was one of four areas in eastern and southern Ukraine that Russia took over last September after sham referendums.

“Starting on March 6, we were able to kill more than 1,100 enemy soldiers in less than a week in the Bakhmut sector alone, which is Russia’s permanent loss right there near Bakhmut,” Mr. Zelensky said in his nightly video address.

He also said that 1,500 Russian soldiers were hurt so badly that they could no longer fight.

Russia’s Ministry of Defense said Russian forces killed “more than 220 Ukrainian soldiers.”

Col. Gen. Oleksandr Syrskyi, in charge of Ukraine’s ground forces, said that the Russian mercenary Wagner Group was attacking his troops from all sides to break through the defenses and move into the central parts of the town.

The Russian attack on Bakhmut is based on the paramilitary group. Its leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, and his private army all count on taking Bakhmut.

On Sunday, he said things in the city were “hard, very hard, and the enemy was fighting for every meter.”

“And the fighting got worse as they got closer to the city center,” he said in a voice recording on Telegram.

After he plans to take Bakhmut, he said, “we’ll start over” and “start looking for new people in the area.”

And on Saturday, a US think tank called the Institute for the Study of War said that Moscow’s attack was stopping.

“Wagner Group fighters are probably getting stuck in urban areas more and more,” it said. “This makes it hard for them to make big gains.”

Before the invasion, about 70,000 people lived in Bakhmut, but now only a few thousand are left. Once, the city was best known for its salt and gypsum mines and colossal wineries.

Like Russia, Ukraine has given Bakhmut political importance, and President Zelensky has made the city a symbol of resistance.

When he went to Washington in December, he said it was “the fortress of our morale” and gave the US Congress a Bakhmut flag.

Officials from the West say 20,000 and 30,000 Russian soldiers have been killed or hurt in and around Bakhmut.

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