Fierce fighting continues in heavily deserted Bahmut, with both sides reporting an ever-increasing number of casualties from the opposing army. Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to visit Moscow next week.
The commander of the Ukrainian ground forces said that the situation in the city, which is divided by the Bahmutka River, is very challenging, while adding that his forces are successfully resisting the efforts of Russian forces to occupy it. “All attempts by the enemy to occupy the city are suppressed by artillery, tanks and other weapons,” he announced via Telegram Alexander the Syrian. Ukrainian forces control the west of Bahmut, while Wagner Group fighters have taken control of most of the eastern part. The area is separated by the river Bahmutka, the British Ministry of Defense wrote in a report on the events at the weekend.
Leader of Wagner’s troops Yevgeny Prigozhin said on Sunday that the situation was “difficult, very difficult”. “The closer we are to the center of the city, the more difficult the fighting is. The Ukrainians are throwing endless reserves. But we are advancing and will continue to advance,” he said, adding that the Russian army was helping his members with ammunition. “We got 15 trucks yesterday, 12 today. And I think we’ll keep getting more,” he said, adding that there was no conflict between his fighters and Russian troops.
In recent weeks, Prigozhin complained that the Russian army was deliberately not giving ammunition to his fighters, which the Ministry of Defense denied.
High casualties on both sides
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky said in an evening address on Sunday that Ukrainian troops had killed more than 1,100 Russian soldiers in the past few days. “In less than a week, we killed more than 1,100 soldiers in Bahmut alone, which is an irreparable loss for the Russian side.” He added that another 1,500 Russian soldiers were injured to such an extent that they could not fight. The Russian side previously announced that more than 220 Ukrainian soldiers were killed in the area of the Donetsk Basin in the last 24 hours. Neither side gave details of their casualties.
Prigozhin announced that his group would start a new recruitment of fighters after the capture of Bahmut. The group has 42 training centers.
Analysts predict that the Ukrainian army will start a spring counter-offensive in April or in May, when the weather will improve, and by then they will strengthen their military, mainly counting on leopard and abrambs tanks. “Everyone is waiting. The 1st Tank Brigade too. We recently sent personnel for training on the use of Leopards,” said a Ukrainian tank brigadier Leonid Khoda.
Over the Belgorod region, which borders Ukraine, the Russian air defense launched four missiles today, the local governor announced Vyacheslav Gladkov. According to him, one person was injured. The Ukrainian city of Donetsk, which is under Russian control, was the target of four shellings on Sunday, which Russian officials blamed on Ukraine.
Meanwhile, he is Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba He called on Germany to speed up arms deliveries and start training Ukrainian pilots to use Western fighter jets. He said he does not expect the Western allies to give Ukraine the fighter jets it has asked for, but added that the pilots should already be trained when they decide to supply the fighter jets.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is reportedly planning a visit to Russian President Vladimir Putin next week, Reuters reports. Officially, Beijing and Moscow have not yet confirmed the visit.