Ukraine Under Siege: Russia’s Advance on Bakhmut Reaches Critical Point
On March 5, 2023, Russian forces led by the Wagner mercenary group are attempting to encircle the small industrial city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine. Ukrainian forces, under increasingly severe pressure, are seeking to reinforce Bakhmut, but the situation is becoming increasingly dire. Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder of Russia’s Wagner mercenary force, has called on President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to order a withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from the besieged city.
The US has announced a further $400 million in military aid to boost Kyiv's depleted ammunition stocks. Victory in Bakhmut would give Russia its largest advance since last summer and control over a key transport hub in Donetsk, one of two regions that make up the Donbas in eastern Ukraine.
Ukraine’s general staff has said that Russian troops were unsuccessful in their attempts to surround Bakhmut, with Ukrainian defenders repelling numerous attacks in and around the city. Oleksandra Havrylko, a police major who has recently spent time in Bakhmut and the surrounding villages with the White Angels, is trying to persuade those caring for the last few dozen children to let them be evacuated.
The US and Germany have also focused discussions in Washington on war aid for Ukraine and the potential that China may provide lethal aid to Russia. Ukrainian general staff chief, Col Gen Oleksandr Syrskyi, visited Bakhmut on Friday for meetings with local commanders on how to bolster front-line forces.
The situation has become increasingly dire, with volunteers from the Kramatorsk Union of Volunteers sharing their last mission to the city on February 27th, which they described as the worst day yet. All roads are now under fire, and Ukrainian authorities have forbidden volunteers from entering the city.
Overall, the situation in Bakhmut is dire and escalating, with no end in sight. Russia’s advances are putting severe pressure on Ukraine’s forces, and the US and Germany are mobilizing aid packages to help the Ukrainian cause. However, unless a surprise counter-attack is launched, the Ukrainian forces’ grip on Bakhmut appears to be slipping.
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