‘Fierce’ Battles Rage in Central Bakhmut as Russia Grinds Forward

Ukraine has said its strategy with the defence of Bakhmut is to degrade Russia’s ability to launch any further offensive in the coming months and buy time to ready its bid to recapture ground.

March 13, 2023

Ukrainian servicemen fire with a 105mm howitzer towards Russian positions near the city of Bakhmut, on March 8, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Aris Messinis / AFP

Fierce fighting is raging for control of the centre of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, the longest-running and bloodiest battle of Moscow’s invasion, Russian and Ukrainian forces said Monday.

Ukraine said that Russia’s Wagner mercenary group, which has claimed to be leading Moscow’s charge for the industrial city, was pushing forward in the city that has been the epicentre of fighting for months.

“Wagner assault units are advancing from several directions, trying to break through our troops’ defensive positions and move to the centre of the city,” the Ukrainian military said in a morning briefing.

“In fierce battles, our defenders are inflicting significant losses on the enemy,” it added.

Analysts are divided over the strategic significance of Bakhmut as a military prize but the city has gained important political stature, with both sides pouring significant resources into the fight.

Wagner head Yevgeny Prigozhin also acknowledged that his forces were coming up against determined resistance as they sought to wrest control of the city’s centre.

“The situation in Bakhmut is difficult, very difficult. The enemy is battling for every metre,” Prigozhin said in a post on social media.

“The closer we are to the city centre, the more difficult the battles get and the more artillery there is… Ukrainians are throwing endless reserves (at the fight),” Prigozhin said.

Ukraine has said its strategy with the defence of Bakhmut is to degrade Russia’s ability to launch any further offensive in the coming months and buy time to ready its bid to recapture ground.

– ‘Surge’ in arms demand –

Kyiv has cautioned the city’s fall would give Russian forces a clear path deeper into the Donetsk region, which the Kremlin claimed to have annexed into Russia last year.

Russia has reported painstaking gains around Bakhmut in recent weeks, making progress on encircling the city, but it has not made significant territorial gains in months.

The capture of the city would provide the Kremlin with a military win to sell to its domestic audience.

NATO warned last week that Bakhmut could fall within a matter of days while Ukraine leader Volodymyr Zelensky has vowed to continue to hold the city “as long as possible”.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, now more than a year old, has seen arms imports into Europe almost double in 2022, driven by massive shipments to Kyiv, which has become the world’s third-largest arms destination, researchers said Monday.

“The invasion has really caused a significant surge in demand for arms in Europe, which will have further effect and most likely will lead to increased arms imports by European states,” Pieter Wezeman, a senior researcher at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), told AFP.

Russia’s attack has had “devastating” consequences for children in residential institutions, with thousands transferred to occupied territories or to Russia, Human Rights Watch also said Monday.

“This brutal war has starkly shown the need to end the perils faced by children who were institutionalised,” said Bill Van Esveld, associate children’s rights director at the New York-based organisation.

At least several thousand children have been transferred to Russia or occupied territories, the report said.


  1. “Ukraine has said its strategy with the defence of Bakhmut is to degrade Russia’s ability to launch any further offensive in the coming months and buy time to ready its bid to recapture ground.”

    A sound strategy, as long as the costs aren’t so high that they don’t warrant it. But, it does seem to cleave large swaths of men and material from the mafia army and Wagner.

    • The operation to liberate The Falklands from Argie occupation was a complex one; requiring an 8000 mile supply chain. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong. Our so-called friends the French had a nasty surprise for us : they had supplied the Argies with Exocet missiles; the means of delivery being Super Entendard jets. There were even French technicians on the ground. They managed to inflict horrible burns and/or death on hundreds of our sailors.
      Thanks a lot France! You treacherous turds.
      But in the end we won because it was what was known as a “range war.” Our artillery went further than theirs; simple as that.
      Gen. Zaluzhnyi will know what his forces need : large numbers of armour including modern MBT’s, overwhelming advantage in firepower and vastly superior numbers, which means a standing army, including infantrymen and specialists like tankers, artillerymen, sappers, snipers, engineers etc, plus medics, of in excess of 1m. Most importantly: longer range artillery and long range guided ballistic missiles in large numbers.
      After one year, putinazi firepower is still greater than that of the defenders, who apparently only manage to lob back a fifth of what comes at them.
      Now, because of the recalcitrance of the allies, Ukraine is forced to put its finest in street fighting in Bakhmut against expendable subhuman trash.
      Oh and putler’s “bridge of arseholes” needs to be rendered completely unserviceable. So get those fucking long range fires to them immediately.

      • I have a strong feeling that Ukraine has more than we suspect. They need it for the upcoming offensive. They even have long-range capabilities, but will use them sparingly until the right moment arrives. Have faith! The day is near when many more subhuman trash gets disposed of.

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