Ukraine in Standoff with Russia Over Bakhmut as US Steps In With Aid

Ukraine is signaling a potential retreat from the eastern city of Bakhmut, which would give Russia a symbolic victory and its largest advance in months.[0] Analysts from the West have forecasted that Ukraine would call for a tactical retreat from Bakhmut, in order to decrease casualties and reorganize.[1] However, the Ukrainian military insists they are staying put.[2]

Ukraine’s ground forces commander, Oleksandr Syrskyi, visited Bakhmut on Friday for meetings with local commanders on how to bolster front-line forces.[3] Over the past 24 hours, Ukrainian soldiers fought back numerous attacks in the Bakhmut area and in other locations in Donetsk, according to the Ukrainian Defense Ministry.

Russia’s defense chief, Sergei Shoigu, paid a rare visit to his forces in Ukraine at the weekend, awarding medals and meeting commanders.[4] Russian troops are trying to cut off the city of Bakhmut, the center of bloody fighting since last summer, and the UK defense ministry said Ukrainian resupply routes out of Bakhmut “are increasingly limited.”[5]

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the controller of the Wagner force – the Russian troops spearheading the attack in Bakhmut – warned on Saturday night that pulling his forces out could lead to the complete disintegration of the Russian line of defense.[4] Military analysts at the Institute for the Study of War, based in the United States, stated that it appears as though Ukrainian forces are creating the conditions for a strategic retreat from certain areas of Bakhmut.[5]

The US has announced a further $400 million in military aid to boost Kyiv's depleted ammunition stocks.[6] US President Joe Biden lauded Germany’s commitment to providing military and other support to Ukraine as he met with Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the White House.[6]

The situation in Bakhmut remains tense as Russian troops try to force Ukrainian forces to withdraw and Kyiv fights to maintain control of the city. The Ukrainian military reported that they successfully defended against 95 assaults from Russia in the Bakhmut area within 24 hours. Whether the Ukrainian command will order a tactical withdrawal or continue to fight for the city remains to be seen.

0. “Bakhmut on the brink as Ukraine signals retreat” The Hill, 2 Mar. 2023,

1. “Ukraine Weighs Options for Bakhmut as Russia Struggles to Maintain Pressure” The Wall Street Journal, 5 Mar. 2023,

2. “Fight for Bakhmut continues as Russian forces call for more support” The Guardian, 5 Mar. 2023,

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

4. “Wagner boss decries lack of ammo from Russia for Bakhmut battle” Al Jazeera English, 6 Mar. 2023,

5. “Ukraine Latest: Saudi Generators Sent; Bakhmut Battles Continue” Yahoo News, 4 Mar. 2023,

6. “Ukraine latest: Numerous Bakhmut attacks still being repelled, says Kyiv” BBC, 4 Mar. 2023,

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