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Bakhmut has become a bloody cauldron where Kiev has to spend enormous human resources to maintain its positions. Ukrainian and NATO forces are leaving villages one after another allowing the advancing Russian Wagner fighters to partially surround the city.
The Bakhmut district is reportedly defended by the 30th and 53rd brigades of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Positional battles continue in the industrial zone on the eastern outskirts of the city, where none of the warring sides claim control over the new facilities, but all suffer losses in street fighting.
Wagner’s fighters continue their advance in the south-western direction. The Western Wagner grouping has already secured strongholds in the villages that were recently taken under their control along the southern road to Bakhmut. Russians are now storming the village of Kleshcheyevka.
The encirclement of the city from the southwestern direction will allow Russian forces to bypass the main Ukrainian defenses on the southern outskirts of the city, where heavy fighting continues for the village of Opytne.
The Wagner fighters are not in a hurry to conduct assault operations in Bakhmut, but are trying to expand the control zone around the city.
The head of the PMC “Wagner” Yevgeny Prigozhin claimed that the Russians have the task of destroying the Ukrainian army and reducing its combat potential but not storming the city. Such tactics should lead to the liberation of the city without heavy fighting on the streets, and also have a positive effect on other fronts of Eastern Ukraine.
As a result, the Ukrainian Army loses 500 to 800 killed and wounded soldiers in the “Bakhmut grinder” on a daily basis.
The hospitals in Bakhmut and neighboring cities are already full of wounded. The heavy losses affect the morale of the Ukrainian troops and increase the burden on the medical and logistical support system.
Since the beginning of December, the number of reports by Ukrainian and foreign journalists from the war-torn city covering the deplorable state of the Ukrainian troops has increased dramatically. This can be assessed as an attempt by Kiev to prepare public opinion for the approaching surrender of the Ukrainian Army in Bakhmut.