Did Russia Encircle Bakhmut? Russian officials claimed this week that Russian forces were encircling the city of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region of Ukraine.
Speaking on state television, the aid added that troops were fighting to take control of the Chasiv Yar-Bakhmut highway.
Britain’s Sky News shared verified images on Friday that appear to show Russian forces encircling the city, apparently supporting Russia’s claims. The control maps were first published by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), with red areas showing the areas where the Russians have made verified advances and yellow areas to the south where Russian forces already have full control.
Ukrainian forces remain present in the western parts of the Bakhmut region.
Russia has previously made claims like this in towns surrounding Bakhmut, but the release of these verified satellite images suggests that it may just be a matter of time before Russia takes control of the city.
Speaking to Sky News, security analyst Professor Michael Clarke said that it is nearly the “end game” in the city.“The Russians have got north and south of the city,” the academic said.
Ukraine Tells Of Heavy Losses for Russians
While Ukraine has not denied that Russian forces have made gains in the region, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said in an update that Russian forces were suffering heavy losses in the Lyman and Bakhmut regions.
A statement described how “the invaders are suffering heavy losses” and reported that several Russian attacks had been successfully stopped in Bakhmut.
Wagner Forces A Game Changer?
In a post shared by the Ukrainian Joint Force Task Force, one soldier described how the situation on the ground in Bakhmut has changed significantly since the early days of the conflict.
Specifically, the soldier said that Ukrainian troops started by fighting regular Russian soldiers, but that the Kremlin later sent in special force units and Wagner mercenaries to the region, which worsened the conflict.
“Recently, Wagner fighters and GRU have appeared in our sector,” the soldier said. “They are doing a pretty good job and have been fighting for not the first year. It’s quite difficult to fight them.”
The same soldier said that Russian soldiers in Bakhmut now depend on using tanks to destroy virtually everything in sight, including houses and streets.
“Their tactics now are that we gnaw every house, every street. They destroy them, level them to the ground. So that it would not be possible to lead the fire from there,” the soldier said.
Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.