1676638342 Attacks in eastern Ukraine Kiev urges Bakhmut to escape

Attacks in eastern Ukraine: Kiev urges Bakhmut to escape

“If you are sane, law-abiding and patriotic citizens, you should leave the city immediately,” Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk appealed to the remaining few on Telegram on Friday. According to the government, five civilians were killed and nine wounded earlier.

Russian troops have been trying to capture Bakhmut for months. According to Wereschuk, there are still around 6,000 civilians in the city. Donetsk’s military governor, Pavlo Kyrylenko, had estimated the number at just under 5,000 earlier in the week.

Two people pull a sled with a can of water on a snow-covered street in Bakhmut

AP/Libkos Only a few thousand people are still in Bachmut

Authorities at the time further restricted civilian access, leading to speculation that an orderly withdrawal was being prepared. Many elderly people stay in Bachmut because their apartment or house is their only possession and they don’t want to leave their birthplace. Some also sympathize with Russia.

Long lasting wear battle

US Chief of Staff Mark Milley recently described the battle for the Bakhmut region as “a big battle of attrition with very high losses, especially on the Russian side”. Although the battle for Bakhmut is only symbolically held by the Russian side, the Ukrainians also strengthened their troops there.

Ukrainian soldiers shell a Russian position in Bakhmut

APA/AFP/Yasuyoshi Chiba The situation in eastern Ukraine, here the Ukrainian military in Bakhmut, continued to deteriorate

Mark Cancian of the US Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) recently provided an explanation: “This is a classic World War I problem. If the Russians attack there, the Ukrainians will have no choice but to defend the city.” This despite the fact that victory “would mean nothing in military and strategic terms”.

Russia steps up attacks in eastern Ukraine

According to Ukrainian sources, Russia has stepped up its attacks in eastern Ukraine. “Today it is quite difficult everywhere, because the number of attacks has increased significantly,” Luhansk region governor Serhiy Hajday was quoted as saying on television by Portal news agency. Bombing also increased sharply, including from the Russian air force. “There are constant attempts to break through our defences,” he said of the fighting near the town of Kreminna, north of Bakhmut.

Graph showing the course of the war front in Ukraine

Graphics: APA/ORF; Source: ISW/Le Monde

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly video that his priority was to repel Russian attacks and prepare for a possible counteroffensive of his own. Zelenskyi again rejected talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin to the BBC. There is no “trust”. He again asked for weapons from the west. “Weapons are the only language the Russian Federation understands.”

Moscow continues to restructure military leadership

According to the RBC news platform, Russia has meanwhile appointed Lieutenant General Andrei Mordvichev as the new commander of the Central Military District. He replaces Colonel General Alexander Lapin, who was appointed chief of staff of Russia’s ground forces last month. Mordvichev’s appointment comes amid a series of radical changes in the leadership of the Russian armed forces during the war in Ukraine. According to RBC, Mordvichev led Russian units in the offensive on the port city of Mariupol in southern Ukraine.