Heavy casualties reported in Bakhmut as battle for city rages | Russia-Ukraine war News

Heavy casualties reported in Bakhmut as battle for city rages | Russia-Ukraine war News

Ukraine and Russia have reported heavy casualties as the slow, grinding battle for control of the Bakhmut salt mine town continues in eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine controls the area west of now ruined and mostly deserted Bakhmut, while Russia’s Wagner Group controls much of the east, according to British intelligence, with the Bakhmutka River winding through the town marking the front line.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said more than 1,100 Russian soldiers had been killed in recent days fighting in the Bakhmut part of the front line.

“In less than a week, starting on March 6, we managed to kill more than 1,100 enemy soldiers in the Bakhmut sector alone, Russia’s irreversible loss, right there, near Bakhmut,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address.

He added that about 1,500 Russian soldiers were so badly wounded that they could not continue fighting.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said its forces were carrying out additional military operations in the eastern Donetsk region which, along with neighboring Luhansk, makes up the industrial Donbas.

The ministry said Russian forces had killed more than 220 Ukrainian service members in the past 24 hours.

“In the direction of Donetsk … more than 220 Ukrainian servicemen, an infantry fighting vehicle, three armored fighting vehicles, seven vehicles, as well as a D-30 howitzer were destroyed during the day,” the ministry said.

Both sides have admitted to suffering and inflicting significant losses on Bakhmut over the past few months, although the exact number of casualties is difficult to independently verify.

Ukraine has repeatedly said the defense of Bakhmut will continue, with top commanders saying over the weekend the battle there allows them to gain the time needed to prepare a wider offensive. attack

“In Bakhmut: the situation there is difficult, very difficult, the enemy is fighting for every meter,” said Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder of the Wagner Group of mercenaries on Sunday in a voice recording published on the Telegram channel of his press service.

“And the closer to the city center, the more intense the fighting.”

Moscow says taking Bakhmut would shake Ukrainian defenses and be a step toward seizing all of Donbas, a key target.

(Al Jazeera)

But fighting and heavy shelling also continues across the front line in eastern and southern Ukraine, including other parts of Donetsk.

According to officials installed in Russia in Donetsk, the city was shelled four times by Ukrainian forces on Sunday, affecting residential areas and damaging power lines.

Reuters news agency could not independently verify the report. Both sides have repeatedly said they do not target civilians in their attacks.

Tens of thousands of Ukrainian civilians were killed, as well as soldiers on both sides. Russia has bombed Ukrainian cities and sent millions of civilians fleeing what Kyiv and the West call an unprovoked war of occupation.

Svetlana Boiko, 66, was injured in Donetsk shelling when her apartment was struck. He told Reuters that the shelling “used to fly without hitting us”.

“This is the first time since 2014 that we have been hit. So, this is what 2023 will look like,” Boiko said.

In September, Russia claimed it had annexed the Donetsk region and three other Ukrainian regions, including parts held by Russian-backed separatists since 2014.