The Ukrainian army prepares a counter-offensive against the Russian advance
BET À DAY
The Ukrainian army continues to defend Bakhmout on Sunday, with the aim of “buying time” in this city in eastern Ukraine which Moscow has been trying to seize since the summer in heavy casualties.
“The real heroes are the defenders who hold the Eastern Front on their shoulders,” praised Ukrainian Ground Forces Commander Oleksandre Syrsky.< /p>
“We must gain time to accumulate reserves and launch a counter-offensive, which is not far off,” he said, quoted by the army press service on Saturday. , without giving more details on this potential assault.
The Ukrainian army said on Sunday that “15 localities in the Bakhmout area had come under Russian fire the day before, a sign of the intensity of the fighting currently in the area.
“At the start of the war, we didn't have drones. Missions were more complicated and less effective. But in the summer we started to receive drones and other equipment. Today, we are more efficient,” Petro, the pilot of one of three MI-8 attack helicopters which had just carried out a raid against a target near Bakhmout, told AFP.
< p>Despite this equipment, the British Ministry of Defense reported on Saturday that “in the last four days the Russian paramilitary group Wagner had “taken control of most of eastern” Bakhmout.< /p>
“Ukrainian forces control the west of the city and have demolished key bridges over the river” which crosses it, the ministry said.
Evguéni Prigojine, the boss of the Wagner group, claimed for his part a new progression of his men who are fighting on the front line in Bakhmout.
“It is the building of the municipal administration, the center administration of the city,” he said on Saturday, pointing from the roof of a building to another building, as an illustration of this progress.
“It's one kilometer two hundred.” (…) “This is the area, there are ongoing fights”, he added in a video broadcast by the press service of his company Concord, unverifiable comments from an independent source in the immediate.
The Russians have been trying for several weeks to encircle this city of some 70,000 inhabitants before the conflict and have succeeded in cutting off several important supply routes for the Ukrainian soldiers.
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Olga Stefanichyna conceded in that it “becomes complicated for us to resist and deter” the forces in Bakhmout.
“We estimate that the Russian army has already lost 150,000 men since last year in its military offensives on our soil. The human mass of its infantry is a formidable weapon, it seems inexhaustible in volume and time,” she said.
While observers doubt the strategic importance of Bakhmout in itself, this battle – the longest since the start of the Russian offensive more than a year ago – has acquired symbolic value, both for Kiev and for Moscow, which would like to obtain a victory there after several humiliating setbacks.
“The most important thing is to obtain the right amount of ammunition and to move forward”, hammered in his video Evguéni Prigojine, in open conflict with the Russian military hierarchy, in particular to obtain more ammunition.
He once again publicly attacked the Russian Minister of Defense, Sergei Shoigu, and the Chief of Staff, Valéri Guerasimov, qualifying them, ironically, as “exceptional military leaders”.
“I absolutely, totally support all their efforts”, still mocked the one who continues to criticize the strategy of the hierarchy on the ground.
The Russian army continues its attacks in parallel in other regions.
The Ukrainian regional authorities thus announced on Sunday that the Russian strikes on Kherson, a southern city liberated by the Kiev army in November after several months of occupation, had left a total of three people dead and three injured the day before. civilians.