A Ukrainian soldier on March 5 near Bakhmut
The government in Kiev wants to keep Bachmut. But the Ukrainian troops complain about a lack of ammunition and poor training. Meanwhile, the Russian mercenary boss Prigozhin threatens his own government.
Dhe Ukraine does not want to give up Bakhmut – at least that is the official position in Kiev. Following a meeting between President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the leadership of the Ukrainian military on Monday, the Presidential Office issued a statement saying that the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Valeryy Zalushnyy and the Commander of the Troops in Eastern Ukraine Oleksandr Syrskyy agreed to continue defending the city and to reinforce the Ukrainian positions in the city. According to Ukrainian media reports, Syrskyj has visited positions of Ukrainian troops in Bakhmut twice in the past few days.
The Ukrainian leadership has also been saying for some time that the defenders’ situation is becoming increasingly difficult given the attackers’ efforts to encircle the city. For eight months, Russian troops have been trying to capture the city, which used to be home to around 70,000 people but has now been largely destroyed. The American “Institute for the Study of War” (ISW) now sees signs that the Ukrainian troops are at least preparing to withdraw from the districts on the east bank of the Bakhmutka River. The situation for Ukrainian troops is believed to have been made even more difficult by the fact that a Russian attack last Friday destroyed a railway bridge vital for supplies to the city.