The battles inside the eastern town of Bakhmut, Ukraine, are “the most difficult ones since you are very close to the enemy,” Serhiy Cherevaty, a spokesperson for the Eastern Grouping of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, said on national television Sunday.
“But the supply route is still open and Ukrainian forces are holding their positions,” he said.
Wagner mercenary fighters have been “the most aggressive in the Bakhmut direction” but Russian paratroopers and infantry soldiers are also fighting in Bakhmut and in the area, he said. “Russians still hold a significant advantage in artillery in the areas of their main attack,” he said.
“We are supplying Bakhmut with food, ammunition and supplies, as well as taking our wounded out,” Cherevaty, said.
Moscow’s recent push: Russian forces continue their push to take “full control” of Bakhmut, the Ukrainian military said in its latest operational update Sunday morning.
Unofficial reports suggest Russian forces are maintaining their slow advance through the center of Bakhmut and into the western parts of the city, with the railway station as a potential next key target.
Yuriy Syrotyuk, a grenade launcher in Ukraine’s military, said in an interview on national television Sunday that the situation in Bakhmut is “really hard” for Kyiv’s forces, as they are outnumbered by Russian troops and Wagner fighters.
“Bakhmut stands; there is a supply” but “Russians outnumber us and hold more ammunition,” Syrotyuk said.
“It’s hell in Bakhmut. We are currently holding the right flank of the city’s defense. The enemy artillery is shooting non-stop, as well as (multiple rocket launcher fire) and aviation,” he said.
“It is really hard now because Russian artillery and tanks have pulled up very close, they are trying to shoot everything. (Enemy) paratroopers with weapons have arrived. Unfortunately, the enemy is fine with weapons. In Bakhmut they have no shortage of personnel or ammunition,” he added.
The Russian offensive on the southern flank of the city has weakened, “which is why they are trying to attack head-on through the city,” Syrotyuk said. Russia has moved its artillery and rocket launchers within the city’s boundaries.
“The enemy is destroying everything and proceeding through the ruins,” but the supply road to Bakhmut is open, Syrotyuk said.
“I was on the southern outskirts of Bakhmut this morning. We left OK. Yes, the enemy is shelling the road, yes it is dangerous. However, there are supplies, the defense is properly organized and there is even a rotation. Look, we were able to leave, to wash up, and will come back,” he added, noting he had taken a brief break from the fighting to rest and participate in the interview.