Kiev – The commander of the Eastern Group of Forces, Colonel-General Alexander Syrsky, visited the units holding the defense of Bakhmut for the second time since February 25.
In a post on the Ground Forces of the Ukrainian Armed Forces Facebook page on March 3, it is noted that the enemy leaves no hope of capturing Bakhmut and continues to build up forces to occupy the city.
“To capture the city, the Russian invaders abandoned the most trained units of the PMC Wagner and other regular units of the Russian army. Intense fighting is taking place in the city itself and around it,” the message underlines.
Alexander Syrsky listened to commanders’ reports on the situation in the units, got acquainted with the issues and awarded valuable gifts to those who distinguished themselves in the battles for the city.
The post on Facebook was signed with the hash tags “bakhmut fortress”, “bakhmut”, “war in Ukraine”.
On February 25, at positions in Bakhmut, Colonel-General Alexander Syrsky heard from commanders of units on problematic issues, thanked the defenders of the city, noting their extraordinary endurance and heroism, the Ground Forces page reports Ukrainian Armed Forces.
According to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the enemy is concentrating its main efforts to conduct offensive operations in the Kupyansky, Limansky, Bakhmutsky, Avdeevsky and Miner directions.
“In the direction of Bakhmut, the enemy leaves no attempts to encircle the city. During the day, our defenders repelled numerous attacks in the settlement areas of Vasyukivka, Dubovo-Vasylivka and Bakhmut,” the March 3 evening operational report reads.
The Ukrainian army command and the DeepState project claim the continuation of the defense and repel the attacks on Bakhmut and the neighboring villages: Dubovo-Vasylivka, Orekhovo-Vasylivka, Ivanovsk, Bogdanovka, Stupochki.
All are located in the area of two highways coming from Bakhmut, which are cut off, sources quote the Ukrainian service of Radio Liberty. Towards the third route – Russian troops tried to break through for several weeks.
The occupation administration of Russia in Donetsk is already showing images of residents of Bakhmut “evacuated” to the territories under its control, obviously, we are talking about people from the outskirts of the city.
DeepState on the interactive map also notes that in addition to the Wagner PMC, Bakhmut is under attack by Russian forces as part of the 217th Parachute Regiment (Military Unit 62295) and the 57th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade.
About the climax of the Battle of Bakhmut
According to journalists from the Meduza project, the battle for Bakhmut, which began in the summer of 2022, is approaching its climax.
“Since March 3, the Armed Forces of Ukraine have not had a single free asphalt road: at night, the bridge in the village of Khromovo, through which the road passes behind – to the city of Chasov Yar, blew up (as claimed by the artillery of the Wagner PMC). However, the Ukrainian army can still use sections of the Bakhmut-Konstantinovka (via Ivanovskoye) and Bakhmut-Chasov Yar highways and the network of dirt roads connecting them”, said Meduza’s website said in a statement.
It indicates that Ukrainian Armed Forces units are already leaving the eastern part of Bakhmut (Zabakhmutka district). Valuable military specialists are also being removed from the city.
On March 3, UNIAN publishes a video message from the head of the private military company Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin, to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, urging those who defend it to “leave town”.
“Dear Vladimir Alexandrovich, the units of the PMC Wagner practically surrounded Bakhmut, there was only one road left. The clamps are compressed. If before the Ukrainian professional army fought with us, today we see more and more old people and children. They fight, but their life under Bakhmut is short – a day or two. Give them the option to leave town. The city is actually surrounded,” Prigozhin said, UNIAN reports.
Dynamics and signals of war
The director of foreign policy and international security programs at the Razumkov Center, military expert Alexei Melnik, notes that the situation around Bakhmut is changing dynamically.
“The arrival of General Syrsky, probably, can be a signal in order to consider options: is it worth maintaining the defense more, Bakhmut and his garrison and the forces defending him are in a semicircle, or proceed to an organized withdrawal and avoid the risk of operational encirclement”, – says Alexey Melnik to the correspondent of the Russian service of media.
He recalls that a few months ago Ukraine declared a change of tactics and new approaches in the fight against the aggressor.
“General Zaluzhny, in an interview with The Economist a few months ago, talked about a change in tactics or new approaches in the sense that Ukraine will no longer trade territory for time. Since then, releasing these occupied points has cost more than retaining them. It was the moment when the decision was taken by the Ukrainian command to defend the Donbass as long as possible”, underlines Oleksiy Melnyk.
According to official data, he notes, enemy manpower losses are seven times higher than those of Ukraine.
“The Ukrainian army in Bakhmut performs an important task – to immobilize the enemy forces that they could transfer to the south, under the same Ugledar, which is of strategic importance. In addition to the chaining task, there has a crushing of the enemy’s manpower. According to official figures, the ratio of casualties is one to seven. Our losses are quite high, but if it is possible to destroy such an amount of manpower- there, then at least there’s a military sense to it,” the military expert explains.
On control of the situation
Oleg Sahakyan, head of the platform for social and humanitarian initiatives and innovations “Unified Coordination Center”, believes that the maintenance of Bakhmut for Ukraine and Russia is dictated by both military and symbolic reasons.
“When Zelensky said that Bakhmut would not be left, in fact, from that moment this city became a political factor. The head of the country personally went there, and the military command was also there. The press reports a visit to Bakhmut by the commander of the land forces, General Syrsky. All this should demonstrate the military-political attention paid to Bakhmut and the control of the situation, ”Oleg Sahakyan told the correspondent of the Russian service media.
Oleg Sahakyan also notes that, judging by information from official sources, the situation in Bakhmut is extremely difficult.
“It was predicted and, obviously, it is part of a plan implemented by the Ukrainian military-political command. For Russia, the capture of Bakhmut would be a symbolic step, militarily, but not such an important strategic or military decision”, underlines Oleg Sahakyan.
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