The Russian advance at Bakhmut could be accompanied by heavy casualties

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) – Russian forces have been making advances in the frontline hotspot of Bakhmut, a key target of Moscow’s month-long campaign in eastern Ukraine that has resulted in staggering casualties, but their assault will be difficult to sustain without further heavy casualties, British military officials said in a review on Saturday.

The UK Ministry of Defense said in the latest of its regular Twitter updates that units of the Kremlin-controlled Wagner paramilitary group have captured most of eastern Bakhmut, with a river running through the city center now marking the front line.

However, the update added that it will be “very challenging” for Wagner forces to advance as Ukraine has destroyed key bridges across the river, while Ukrainian sniper fire from fortified buildings further west created the thin strip of open ground in the centre has “One Kill Zone.”

At the same time, Ukrainian troops and supply lines in the mining town remain vulnerable to “continued Russian attempts to outflank defenders from the north and south” as Russian forces attempt to close in on them in a pincer movement, the ministry said.

Meanwhile, Russian military bloggers and other pro-Kremlin Telegram accounts claimed on Friday that Russian forces had entered a metal processing plant in northwest Bakhmut. A Washington-based think tank also pointed late Friday to geolocated footage showing Russian forces within half a mile of the AZOM facility, a heavily built and fortified complex.

The Institute for the Study of War estimated that Moscow’s seeming focus on capturing the power plant, rather than opting for “further encirclement of western Bakhmut” by attempting to capture nearby villages, was likely to result in another wave of Russian casualties will pull.

Signaling their intention to hold the city on Saturday, Ukrainian ground forces reported on Facebook that their top officer continues to monitor “the most important sectors of the front line” and “take the necessary measures” to ensure Moscow a long-awaited victory on the battlefield refuse. Colonel-General Oleksandr Syrskyi has visited Bakhmut and other hotspots on the Eastern Front several times over the past month.

Across Ukraine, repair work continued on Saturday after a massive Russian missile and drone strike two days earlier that killed six and left hundreds of thousands without heat or electricity.

Ukraine’s state grid operator said after the barrage that saw 80 Russian missiles and a smaller number of exploding drones hit residential buildings and critical infrastructure across the country, power problems persist in four regions.

In a Facebook post, Ukrenergo said planned blackouts were still operational in the Kharkiv and Zhytomyr regions of northwest and northeast Ukraine, respectively, and parts of Dnipropetrovsk and Mykolaiv provinces in the southeast. The company added that the situation in Zhytomyr was particularly challenging as some consumers were still being taken off the grid.

Russian shelling on Saturday set a car on fire as it drove through the southern city of Kherson, killing one person and injuring two others, regional governor Oleksandr Prokudin said in a telegram post.

Authorities had previously reported that Russian shelling had killed at least five people and injured 19 more in the previous 24 hours in Ukraine’s Kherson and Donetsk regions. The eastern province of Donetsk, where Bakhmut is located, has been the epicenter of fighting in recent months, while Ukrainian-held parts of the Kherson region have come under daily shelling from Russian troops stationed across the Dnieper.


Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine: The Russian advance at Bakhmut could be accompanied by heavy casualties

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