Ukraine clings to Bakhmut as Russians advance

Ukraine says Bakhmut has limited strategic value but has nevertheless put up fierce resistance. Not everyone in Ukraine is convinced that defending Bakhmut can go on indefinitely.

“I believe that sooner or later, we will probably have to leave Bakhmut. There is no sense in holding it at any cost,” Ukrainian member of parliament Serhiy Rakhmanin said on NV radio late on Wednesday.

“But for the moment, Bakhmut will be defended with several aims — firstly, to inflict as many Russian losses as possible and make Russia use its ammunition and resources,” Rakhmanin said, adding that no lines of defense should be allowed to collapse.

The battle for Bakhmut began about seven months ago, but in recent weeks Russian advances from three sides have left defenders with the only way out to the west.

Thousands of civilians remain in the ruined city, which had a pre-war population of about 70,000.

“There is a danger that our garrison in Bakhmut will be encircled,” military analyst Oleh Zhdanov said in a post on YouTube assessing the situation as “critical.”

“The enemy is attempting to sever the routes used to supply our forces in Bakhmut and halt all movement along them,” he said. “The Russian forces cannot win street battles in Bakhmut or take the city by attacking head-on. The only way they can take the city is to surround it.”

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