“The enemy continues his attempts to encircle the city of Bakhmut,” the Ukrainian General Staff noted in its daily report.
The military added that during the last day they had repelled “more than 130 enemy attacks” in various sectors of the front, in particular in Kupiansk, Lyman, Bakhmut and Avdiivka, all in eastern Ukraine, where the Russians are concentrating their “main efforts”. , according to Kiev.
The latest report from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) also speaks about the Russian attempts to surround Bakhmut.
“Russian forces appear to have secured a sufficient positional advantage to encircle certain parts of Bakhmut, but they have not yet forced the Ukrainian forces to withdraw and probably will not be able to encircle the city anytime soon,” the analysts say.
According to the ISW, it is likely that Ukrainian forces are setting the conditions for a “controlled” withdrawal from more difficult sectors of eastern Bakhmut, although it is not clear that the top military commanders have decided to withdraw “at this time”.
The resistance will continue despite a possible withdrawal
The spokesman for the Eastern Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Serhiy Cherevatyi, said in an interview with CNN that Bakhmut remains under the control of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Cherevatyi said that reports of the withdrawal of some units were caused by “planned and controlled rotations.”
He also added that “there is no massive withdrawal of Ukrainian troops.”
This Saturday the Ukrainian military spokesman assured that the kyiv forces planned to rebuild their defenses and continue repelling the Russian offensive in Bakhmut.
The situation in the beleaguered city, which once had some 70,000 inhabitants, is difficult but remains under control, he said.
Bakhmut Deputy Mayor Oleksandr Marchenko also confirmed in an interview with BBC Radio that the city is still Ukrainian, despite heavy fighting with Russian forces.
According to Marchenko, currently in Bakhmut there are about 4,500 residents and it is not possible to evacuate more than 5 or 10 people a day.
Russia talks about progress
Meanwhile, the Russian Donetsk militias assured today that the mercenary units of the Wagner Group have full control of the Stupki railway station, north of Bakhmut.
“The storming and clearing of the Stupki station in the northern suburb of Artiomovsk (Russian name for Bakhmut) has been completed, the neighborhood is under the full control of Wagner fighters,” says a statement from the militia of the self-proclaimed republic. Donetsk popular, posted on Telegram.
The “release” of Stupki, considered key to gaining access to the Bakhmut center, was announced by Donetsk leader Denis Pushilin a week ago.
“Now (Wagner’s fighters) have liberated the Stupki neighborhood. If we take into account that there are fights for each house there, this is an important success in the current phase,” Pushilin told Russian public television.
Russian military bloggers, in turn, assure that the departure of the Ukrainians from the strategic city would have already begun.
According to Russian sources, despite the alleged withdrawal, some units of the Ukrainian forces continue to resist to allow their other comrades to leave the city.
The ISW confirms in its latest report that Russian forces made a “limited” advance near Bakhmut on March 4.
According to Russian military expert Boris Rozhin, Russian troops are in control of about 40% of the town’s territory.
“The enemy continues the process of a gradual withdrawal to the western part of the city,” Rozhin said on Telegram.
Meanwhile, Igor Strelkov, who led the pro-Russian uprising in Donbas nine years ago, questioned the decisiveness of the fighting for Bakhmut for the future balance of forces and assured that they only lead to heavy losses on both sides.
Destroyed two Russian bases in Melitopol with hundreds of deaths, according to the mayor
Ukrainian military forces also destroyed two Russian military bases in the Ukrainian town of Melitopol and caused hundreds of deaths among the occupying soldiers, the city’s mayor, Ivan Fedorov, reported tonight.
“Two powerful explosions were heard in the northern districts of the city. We have information that two objects, where the ‘Rusists’ were stationed, were destroyed,” the Melitopol mayor said during the national news telethon, according to the local agency Ukrinform.
According to preliminary information, hundreds of occupying soldiers “were killed,” added the mayor.
The Ukrainian agency recalls that the occupying authorities issued an order to designate Melitopol as the administrative center of the captured Zaporizhia region.