Ukrainian soldiers with a drone in the city of Bakhmut, Donetsk region, February 12, 2023.
Kyiv – The situation around Bakhmut is extremely tense. Mercenaries from the Russian Wagner (in the Russian transcription Vagnerov) group are trying to surround the city, Ukrainian ground forces commander Oleksandr Syrskyj told the Ukrainian media platform Military Media Center.
Photo gallery: Russian invasion of Ukraine
extremely tense” />
“The situation in the Bakhmut area is extremely tense. Despite significant losses, the enemy has launched an offensive with the best-trained assault units of the Wagner group, who are trying to break through the defenses of our troops and surround the city,” he said Syrskyi, who came to Bakhmut a few days ago to see the situation personally.
Russia is trying to cut off the Ukrainian defenders from the supply routes to the city and force them to surrender or retreat. This would give Russia its first major victory in more than half a year and pave the way for an assault on the last remaining urban centers in the Donetsk region.
“The enemy is constantly destroying everything that can serve to protect our positions,” Reuters quoted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as saying on Monday. “Our soldiers defending the area around Bakhmut are real heroes,” he added.
Ukraine's military said that Russia had strengthened its forces in the Bachmut area and shelling the villages around the city. “During the past day, our soldiers repelled more than 60 enemy attacks,” the army command said early this morning, referring to Bakhmut and other areas in eastern Ukraine. It added that Ukrainian forces halted Russian attacks on the villages of Jahidne and Berchivka on the northern approaches to Bakhmut.
Ukrainian military analyst Oleh Zhdanov said, according to Reuters, that Russian forces drove a wedge between the villages as they tried to cut off the road to west to the town of Časiv Jar. “The southern part of Bakhmut is the only area that can be called an area under Ukrainian control. In all other districts, the situation is unpredictable,” Zhdanov said in a video commentary, adding: “It is impossible to say where the front line lies.”