March 1, 2024

Clashes between Ukrainian forces and soldiers of the Wagner Group, east of Bakhmut | Ukraine and Russia

Ukrainian soldiers on a road outside the city of Bakhmut, February 13, 2023 – Photo: Yevgeny Zavorodny/Reuters.

He said that the Ukrainian forces and soldiers from the Wagner Group – the secret paramilitary that supports the Russian army – are engaged in “fierce battles” on Monday (13) against the Russian forces in order to control the center of the city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine. Kyiv.

Bakhmut, though small in size, has been at the center of disagreements between Ukraine and Russia in recent weeks. Russian President Vladimir Putin considers victory necessary – after a series of months of defeat – to justify his country’s spending on the war at home.

The Ukrainian government warns that the fall of Bakhmut may reopen a corridor for further Russian victories.

On Monday, the Ukrainian military said the Russians had “attacked from several directions” in order to “advance towards the central regions”.

“Our defenders are inflicting heavy losses on the enemy in fierce fighting,” he added.

For his part, the head of the Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, admitted that his fighters are facing resistance in the city center.

“The situation in Bakhmut is difficult and very difficult. The enemy is fighting every meter,” he said in a message on social media. “The closer to the city center, the more difficult the fighting and the more artillery … the Ukrainians throw countless reserves (into the fight)”.

Drone footage shows an apartment building on fire in Bakhmut

The city of Bakhmut, which had a population of 70,000 before the start of the Russian invasion in February 2022, has been the epicenter of fighting on the eastern front for months.

The city has become a symbol for both Ukraine and Russia, which both suffered heavy losses in that battle, though observers say its strategic importance is limited.