The front-line town of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine has been the focus of heavy fighting for months. War has escalated this week, but Ukrainian forces appear to be holding their ground against the Russians who recently claimed to have captured the nearby salt-mining town of Soledar.
If Russian forces or the Wagner mercenaries who are also fighting in eastern Ukraine, or indeed both manage to capture Bakhmut, its fall will mark Moscow’s most significant victory after months of humiliating setbacks. The city, famed for its wine-making, is symbolically relevant for Ukrainians for whom “Hold Bakhmut” is now a popular slogan.Bahamut’s pre-war population was about 70,000.
A Ukrainian soldier disguised as Sergei told Bakhmut’s News portals that Russian ground forces had launched a major offensive on Kyiv positions in recent months. “They are sending their troops in waves,” said Sergei. “We’re low in numbers and unfortunately we’ve lost a lot of men, so you can’t stop them every time.”During his visit to the front, Zelensky said Russia also needs to mourn its many victims. All the land near Soledar is covered with occupied corpses and scars from attacks.