KHROMOVE, Ukraine (AP) — Pressure mounted on Ukrainian troops and entrenched civilians in Bakhmut on Saturday as Kiev forces tried to help residents flee the beleaguered eastern city amid what Western analysts say, what could be preparations for a Ukrainian withdrawal.
Capturing Bakhmut would not only give Russian fighters a rare battlefield advantage after months of setbacks, but could disrupt Ukraine’s supply lines and allow Kremlin forces to break into other Ukrainian strongholds. in the eastern region of Donetsk.
A woman was killed and two men seriously injured by shelling on Saturday as they attempted to cross a makeshift bridge out of Bakhmut, according to Ukrainian troops assisting them.
A representative of the Ukrainian army who asked not to be named for operational reasons told The Associated Press that it was now too dangerous for civilians to leave the city in vehicles and that people should flee to foot.
Bakhmuth has been a key target of Moscow’s eastern offensive for months now, with Russian troops – including large forces from Russian private military contractor Wagner Group – closing in on the key eastern stronghold of Kiev.
A PA team near Bakhmut saw a pontoon bridge installed by Ukrainian soldiers on Saturday to help the town’s few remaining residents reach the nearby town of Khromove. Later they saw at least five houses on fire following the attacks in Khromove.
Ukrainian units have destroyed two key bridges on the outskirts of Bakhmut in the past 36 hours, including one connecting it to the nearby town of Chasiv Yar along the last remaining Ukrainian supply route, according to Kingdom military intelligence officials. United and other Western analysts.
Britain’s Ministry of Defense said in the latest of its regular Twitter updates that the destruction of the bridges came as Russian fighters advanced further into the northern suburb of Bakhmuth, increasing pressure on their Ukrainian defenders.
The Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based think tank, said late Friday that kyiv’s actions could signal an imminent Ukrainian withdrawal from parts of the city. He said Ukrainian troops can ‘carry out a limited and controlled withdrawal from particularly difficult sections of eastern Bakhmuth’ as they seek to inhibit Russian movement there and limit exit routes to the west. .
Civilians spoke of the daily fighting as the fighting raged almost unabated, reducing much of Bakhmut to rubble. Hennadiy Mazepa and his wife Natalia Ishkova, who chose to stay in the city, said they lacked basic food and services.
“Humanitarian aid is only given to us once a month. There is no electricity, water or gas,” Ishkova told The Associated Press on Saturday. “I pray to God that everyone who is still here will survive.”
Speaking to the United Nations on Friday, deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said UN humanitarian staff had reported “intense hostilities” near Bakhmuth and that the few humanitarian partners on the ground were focusing on l evacuation of the most vulnerable.
Also on Saturday, Russia’s defense chief traveled to eastern Ukraine to inspect troops and present them with official decorations, the defense ministry said.
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu went to a command post where he was briefed by regional commander Rustam Muradov, according to a video released by the ministry. He did not reveal the location of the command post.
Separately, Ukrainian emergency services reported in the morning that the death toll from a Russian missile attack that hit a five-story building in southern Ukraine on Thursday has risen to 11.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.
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