Ukraine: 'Heavy Fighting' for Bakhmout Center | War in Ukraine

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Ukraine: “ Heavy fighting” for the center of Bakhmout | War in Ukraine

Ukrainian troops are fighting relentlessly to retain the city of Bakhmout.

Ukrainian and Russian forces said on Monday they were engaging in “de fierce fighting” for the center of Bakhmout, in eastern Ukraine, which Moscow has been trying to seize since the summer at the cost of heavy losses.

This city has become a symbol of Ukraine's fierce resistance to the Kremlin, and Kiev hopes to exhaust the enemy forces there so that it can be in a position to launch a vast counter-offensive.

Assault detachments [of the Russian paramilitary group] Wagner are attacking from several directions trying to break through the defense of our troops and advance towards the central quarters, Ukrainian Ground Forces Commander Oleksandr said in the morning. Syrsky quoted by the Army Press Center.

The closer we are to the city center, the harder the fighting, the more artillery , echoed him Evguéni Prigojine, boss of Wagner whose men are in the front line of the fights for Bakhmout.

General Syrsky assured that Ukrainian troops were inflicting significant losses on the enemy in this battle, the longest and bloodiest since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine launched in February 2022 .

With artillery, tank fire […] all attempts to seize the city are repelled, he said worth.

Mr. Prigozhin acknowledged that his forces were facing fierce resistance.

“The situation in Bakhmout is difficult, very difficult. The enemy fights for every yard. The Ukrainians are throwing endless reserves [into battle].

— Wagner boss Yevgeni Prigozhin

The city of Bakhmout, which had 70,000 inhabitants before the invasion, has been the epicenter for months fighting on the eastern front in Ukraine.

While this city largely razed by bombardment has become one of the symbols of the fierce Ukrainian resistance to the invasion, its importance strategy is however disputed by experts.

In this context, some in Ukraine question the need for Kiev to continue to fight for this city, the defense of which involves heavy losses also for the Ukrainian army.

And they risk becoming even heavier if the Russian troops manage to encircle Bakhmout when they have already succeeded in cutting off several important supply routes for the Ukrainian soldiers.

Buildings damaged by a Russian military strike in the town of Bakhmout, located on the front line in Donetsk region, Ukraine, February 27, 2023. (File photo)

Bakhmout could fall in the coming days, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg warned last week.

For the Ukrainian command, it is about hold out as long as possible, so that Russia uses up the maximum number of men, weapons and ammunition there and that it finds itself weakened when Ukraine launches its expected counter-offensive soon .

Time must be gained to accumulate reserves and launch a counter-offensive, General Syrsky said on Saturday.

Ukraine intends to tackle the Russian army in the coming weeks or months to retake the occupied territories, after initial successes in 2022 in the south, north and east .

For this, it relies on the delivery of Western armaments, including tanks and artillery ammunition with a range of more than 100 km . Europeans and Americans have promised some, but their delivery is slow and difficult.

Internationally, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has in any case caused a surge in arms imports into Europe, which have almost doubled in 2022, according to a report by the Institute Stockholm International Peace Research Center (SIPRI) published on Monday.

Until then a negligible importer, Ukraine has suddenly become the third largest destination in the world, concentrating 31% arms imports into Europe and 8% of world trade, according to SIPRI.

Kiev's imports, including Western donations to help it fend off the Russians, have thus increased more than 60 times in 2022, according to the institute.

With a 93% surge over one year, European imports have also increased due to the increase in military spending by several European states such as Poland and Norway, and things should accelerate further, according to this annual report.< /p>

For its part, the NGO Human Rights Watch denounced Monday in a report the devastating consequences of the invasion on orphans and children placed in Ukraine. Thousands of them have been transferred to Russian institutions or families.

The return of children who have been illegally captured by Russian forces should be an international priority, said the NGO while urging Kiev to urgently reform its system of care for these children.

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