Ukraine: “fierce fighting” in Bakhmout where the situation “is getting complicated”



“Fierce fighting” took place on Sunday in the northern districts of Bakhmout, a hot spot on the front in eastern Ukraine where President Volodymyr Zelensky recognized a situation which was “complicating” in the face of the troops from Moscow. 

The Russian army, supported by the mercenaries of the Wagner group, has been trying since the summer to seize this city in eastern Ukraine largely destroyed and turned into a fortress where both sides face heavy casualties.

Moscow has made small territorial gains in recent weeks in the area in hopes of breaking the Ukrainian lock on Bakhmout, including capturing the northern town of Soledar and more recently the village of Blagodatné.

“ Fierce fighting is taking place in the northern neighborhoods (of Bakhmout) for every street, every house, every stairwell,” the boss of the Russian paramilitary group Wagner, Yevgeny Prigojine, whose men are on the front line on the spot, said on Sunday. .

“The Ukrainian armed forces are not retreating. They are fighting to the last man,” he said, quoted by his press service on Telegram.

The Ukrainian general staff confirmed without detailing the fighting and bombardments which are continuing in several points in the east of the country where at least four civilians have been killed and eleven injured in the past 24 hours according to regional authorities.


Five people were also injured on Sunday in two Russian strikes on the center of Kharkiv, the country's second city, which hit residential buildings and a higher education institution, according to the head of the Kharkiv regional military administration, Oleg Synegubov.

'Life is short'

In Bakhmout, AFP journalists attended a liturgy held in the basement on Sunday of the church with the golden bulb of All Saints in the presence of about twenty people, including two Ukrainian soldiers.

Three women sang hymns punctuated by the sound of mortar shells. The room was lit only by about twenty candles and a portable lamp used by the two priests to read the Bible.

“Today I prayed that everything would be better for me after my death,” 20-year-old Serafim Chernyshov said outside the church as exchanges of gunfire and the pounding of shells to and from Russian positions echoed continuously.

“Last night a missile flew into my garden and a bullet flew inside my house, it could have hit me. So we have to understand that life is short, I can die now or in 30 years,” he continues. “If I am killed, it will be God's will,” he adds, resigned.

Lioubov Avramenko, 84, said he prayed “for freedom”. “We're sitting in a basement with no water, gas or electricity,” she says. 

“I prayed for my country, for Ukraine, for my family. I'm sure it will all be over soon,” Svetlana Boïko, 51, wants to believe. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had acknowledged that the situation was “complicating” on the front and in particular in Bakhmout, which he had earlier sworn not to abandon and to defend “as long as possible”.

He also cited Vougledar, where Russian troops are on the offensive, and Lyman, a town recaptured from the Russians during a Ukrainian counter-offensive in 2022. “The occupier is mobilizing its forces more and more to break our defence”, he added.

kyiv, which fears a new major Russian attack, is impatiently awaiting the delivery of weapons promised by the West, including heavy tanks and longer-range rockets.< /p>

On Saturday, Canada shipped the first of the Leopard 2 tanks it has pledged to supply to Ukraine.

A series of other Western countries have promised new weapons to Ukraine, including the United States, France, but also Germany after some hesitation over the delivery of its Leopard tanks. 

Western arms deliveries are crucial for kyiv and have provoked the ire of Moscow, which has brandished the threat of an escalation of the conflict which began in February 2022.

A European embargo on I Oil products exported by sea must also come into force on Sunday, a “negative” measure that will “further unbalance” the markets, according to the Kremlin.