Fierce Battle for ‘Fortress Bakhmut’ Decides Fate of Ukraine Conflict

The battle for the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut has been raging for months, and over the past week, the intensity of the fighting has only increased as Russian forces and the pro-Kremlin Wagner Group mercenary army close in on the city.[0] Ukrainian troops have put up a fierce resistance, but Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of the Wagner Group, warned that if his fighters retreat from Bakhmut now, the entire front line will collapse.[1]

The US Institute for the Study of War released an assessment of the situation in Bakhmut suggesting that Ukrainian forces may be conducting a limited tactical withdrawal, but it is not clear if a full withdrawal is being contemplated.[0] Ukrainian service members have been seen riding atop of tanks outside Bakhmut, and Col Gen Oleksandr Syrskyi, the commander of Ukraine's ground forces, visited Bakhmut on Friday for meetings with local commanders on how to bolster front-line forces.[0]

The Ukrainian soldiers are determined to defend ‘Fortress Bakhmut', and they have been firing self-propelled howitzers at Russian positions in a bid to keep them at bay.[2] As the battle for Bakhmut continues, it is becoming increasingly clear that the fate of the city will shape the course of the entire conflict in the region.

0. “Race to get last children out of Bakhmut as city becomes ‘hell on earth’” The Guardian, 4 Mar. 2023,

1. “Ukraine Isn't Leaving Bakhmut Without a Fight” Newsweek, 6 Mar. 2023,

2. “Russia may be close to capturing Bakhmut. But a victory could come at a heavy cost” CNN, 6 Mar. 2023,

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