Bakhmut: the longest battle of the war in Ukraine

Bakhmut, once known for its vineyards and salt mines, has become the

Bakhmut, once known for its vineyards and salt mines, has become the “slaughterhouse” of Donbas.

Photo: AFP – AFP Agency

The battle for the Ukrainian stronghold of Bakhmut, the longest and bloodiest so far in the war, is claiming more lives every day, with no telling who will claim victory, the Russians or the Ukrainians. “In less than a week in the Bakhmut sector alone (our men) managed to liquidate more than 1,100 enemy soldiers, irreparable losses for Russia,” Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky said in his daily address.

In addition, Ukrainian soldiers defending that area in the Donetsk region have caused “at least 1,500 casualties” to the enemy. The Russian Ministry of Defense, for its part, assured in its daily report that some 400 Ukrainian combatants were eliminated on different fronts in the framework of the offensive operations in the last day.

A tougher fight every day

“The situation around Bakhmut is still difficult,” admitted the commander of the Army, Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi. Wagner’s assault units are “advancing from various directions, trying to break through our defenses and move towards the center” of the city, Syrskyi said on Telegram.

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At the same time, he added that the defenders of Bakhmut “inflict significant losses on the enemy” and that all attempts by the Russians to capture the city “are repelled by artillery, tanks and other weapons.” Also on the other side, the head of the Wagner mercenaries, Yevgeny Prigozhin, described the situation in Bakhmut on Monday as “very difficult” and assured that Ukraine is fighting “for every meter”.

“In Bakhmut the situation is very difficult, the adversary fights for every meter and the closer we get to the city center, the more bloody the fighting is,” Prigozhin was quoted as saying by his press service. Fighters of the Russian paramilitary group reportedly occupied favorable positions in the industrial zone of the AZOM metallurgical plant in northwest Bakhmut over the weekend, according to Andrei Marochko, a representative of the Russian-imposed authorities in Lugansk.

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According to Russian analyst Boris Rozhin, Wagner’s units are carrying out intense fighting in Jromove, west of Bakhmut, without having entered that neighboring town for the moment.

“The loss of Khromove would mean the closing of the siege around Artiomovsk (Russian name for Bakhmut), so the enemy will defend it with all its might,” he opined on Telegram. More ammunition for the Wagner group Meanwhile, Prigozhin reported that his units had finally received part of the claimed ammunition.

“The guys from the Defense Ministry, they are coming from Zaporizhia, Donetsk and even Avdiivka, where there is fierce fighting, with ammunition,” he said. This weekend the group of mercenaries received 27 trucks loaded with ammunition.

“I think we will continue to receive them,” he opined and ruled out that there is a conflict between Wagner and the army, despite his harsh criticism of the Russian military leadership for lack of help to the group.

According to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), the Russian Defense Ministry would be “prioritizing the elimination of Wagner on the battlefields in Bakhmut” in order to weaken Prigozhin and prevent him from having greater influence over the Kremlin. The organization that studies conflicts said that the pace of the advance of Wagner’s forces in Bakhmut has slowed in recent days.

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the longest battles

Ukraine’s harsh resistance in that strategic city has made this battle the longest since the fighting began in February 2022. The fighting intensified in recent months without Moscow troops having managed to seize more than half of it. the city, where barely 1,000 Ukrainian civilians would remain, according to Kiev.

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Among the longest battles of this war are the battles for Kharkov, between February and September; Severodonetsk, from February to June 2022 and Mariupol, a contest that lasted four months.

While in the first case the Ukrainians managed to force the Russian withdrawal, in the second and third cases both cities fell into the hands of Russian forces.

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