Experts say the Russian advance has stalled in Bakhmut, Ukraine


KYIV, Ukraine (AP) – Russia’s advance appears to have stalled in Moscow’s campaign to capture the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, a leading think tank reports. rating the longest ground battle of the war.

The Washington-based Institute for the Study of War said there were no confirmed advances by Russian forces in Bakhmut. Russian forces and units of the Kremlin-controlled Wagner paramilitary group continued their ground assault on the city, but there was no evidence of any progress, ISW said late Saturday.

According to the press secretary of the eastern group of the Ukrainian armed forces Serhiy Cherevatyy, the battle in the Bakhmut region has become more intense this week than the previous one. According to Cherevatiy, there were 23 clashes in the city in the last day.

The ISW report follows revelations earlier this week about Russian advances. Britain’s Ministry of Defense said on Saturday that paramilitary units of the Kremlin-controlled Wagner group had captured much of eastern Bakhmut, with a river now running through the town marking the frontline of the fighting. The assessment noted that it would be difficult to sustain a Russian offensive without more casualties.

The mining town of Bakhmut is located in Ukraine’s Donetsk province, one of four Ukrainian regions illegally annexed by Russian President Vladimir Putin last year. The Russian army launched a campaign to take control of Bakhmut in August, and both sides suffered heavy losses. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi has promised not to back down.

A destroyed field hospital is seen near the Bakhmut front in Zvanivka, Ukraine on March 11, 2023, as fighting continues between Ukrainian forces and Russian troops for control of the eastern mining town.

Narciso Contreras/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

In its latest report released on Sunday, Britain’s Ministry of Defense said on Sunday that the impact of the heavy casualties Russia continues to inflict on Ukraine varies across the country. According to the ministry’s intelligence, the major cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg are “relatively unscathed,” especially among the Russian elite. In contrast, in many parts of eastern Russia, the death rate as a percentage of the population is “30-40 times higher than in Moscow.”

The report pointed out that ethnic minorities are often the victims. For example, in the southern Astrakhan region, “about 75% of the victims are representatives of the Kazakh and Tatar minorities.”

Russia’s growing costs are reflected in the loss of government control over the country’s information industry, ISW said. The think tank said Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova had confirmed “conflicts within the Kremlin” and that the Kremlin had effectively lost control of the information space. Putin could not easily regain control and the country.

ISW considers Zakharova’s comments at a Moscow forum on “Practical and Technological Aspects of Information-Knowledge Warfare in Modern Reality” to be “remarkable” and consistent with the think tank’s long-standing assessment of the “deterioration of the Kremlin regime.” and dynamics of information space management.

Zakharova said in a separate statement on Sunday that the next round of talks on extending the Black Sea Grain Agreement will be held in Geneva on Monday. At the meeting, the Russian delegation will meet with senior UN officials ahead of the latest extension of the agreement, which expires on March 18.

The wartime deal, which has blocked grain shipments from Ukraine and helped drive up global food prices, was last extended by four months in November.

The deal, signed by Ukraine and Russia on July 22 with the UN and Turkey separately, sets out a secure Black Sea shipping corridor and vetting procedures to address concerns that cargo shippers may be carrying weapons or carrying out attacks.

Ukraine and Russia are the world’s main suppliers of wheat, barley, sunflower oil and other food to parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia, where millions of poor people are food insecure. Russia was also the world’s largest fertilizer exporter before the war.

The loss of these supplies, following Russia’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, has pushed up global food prices and threatened a hunger crisis in the most vulnerable countries. poor.

Elsewhere in Ukraine, a day earlier, at least five people were killed and seven others wounded in Russian attacks in Ukraine’s Donetsk and Kherson regions, local Ukrainian authorities said Sunday morning.

Ukrainian servicemen of the 10th brigade, known as
Ukrainian servicemen of the 10th brigade, known as “Edelweiss”, work on the front line near Soledar, Donetsk region, Ukraine, on March 11, 2023.

Wolfgang Schwan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Donetsk Governor Pavlo Kirilenko said two people were killed in the area, in the town of Kostyantinovka and one in the village of Tonenke. Four more civilians were injured.

Also in Donetsk province, Slavyansk Mayor Vadim Lyakh said power lines and railway lines were damaged by Russian shelling on Sunday, but there were no casualties.

Local officials in the southern Kherson province confirmed that Russian forces fired 29 rounds into Ukrainian-controlled territory in the region on Saturday, including three rounds at residential areas in the regional capital, Kherson. Three people were killed and three others were injured in the province.

On Sunday, a woman was injured by Russian gunfire in the village of Bilozerka, near Kherson.

In northeastern Ukraine’s Kharkiv province, the districts of Kharkiv, Chuhuiv and Kupyansk came under fire, but no civilians were injured.

The head of Ukraine’s southern Nikolaev province, Governor Vitaly Kim, said the city of Ochakiv, located at the mouth of the Dnieper, was hit by artillery fire on Sunday morning. Cars were burned, private houses and apartment buildings were damaged. There are no reports of casualties.

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