The recent battle for eastern Bakhmut city, has claimed heavy casualties of enemy troops, from both Russia and Ukraine.
Ukrainian military spokesperson Serhiy Cherevatyi claimed that 221 pro-Moscow troops were neutralised and more than 300 wounded in Bakhmut.
On the other hand, Russia’s defence ministry alleged that about 210 Ukrainian soldiers were killed in the broader Donetsk part of the frontline, reports Reuters news agency.
“Over the course of the fighting, 221 enemies were killed and 314 sustained injuries of various degrees,” Cherevatyi told the national parliament’s television channel.
Both sides admitted to suffering and inflicting significant losses in Bakhmut, while the exact number of casualties is difficult to independently verify.
Over the past few months, Russia has been deploying a heavy amount of troops to Bakhmut in the hopes of capturing the city as it desperately seeks a win after a series of setbacks. The Russian troops are being assisted by the mercenary Wagner Group, which has claimed to have taken control of the majority parts of the city.
Ukraine asserted that it was stalling Russian advances in Bakhmut and was giving a “decent rebuff”, with the commander in charge of defending Bakhmut saying its protection was key for a Ukrainian counter-strike.
“It is necessary to gain time to accumulate reserves and start a counter-offensive, which is not far off,” the military cited Colonel general Oleksandr Syrskyi as saying on Saturday, according to Reuters.
Russia believes that capturing Bakhmut would deal a heavy blow to the Ukrainian defences and be a step towards seizing all of the Donbas industrial region, a major target. Kyiv says the battle is grinding down Russia’s best units.
British intelligence said that “this area has become a killing zone, likely making it highly challenging for Wagner forces attempting to continue their frontal assault westward.”
But the situation remained dangerous for Ukrainian forces.
“The Ukrainian force and their supply lines to the west remain vulnerable to the continued Russian attempts to outflank the defenders from the north and south,” it said.