The Armed Forces of Ukraine fended off dozens of attacks from Russian troops on Monday as “heavy battles” continue around the city of Bakhmut, according to the Ukraine military.
The eastern industrial city has been the center of some of the most intense fighting in the Russia-Ukraine war and has largely been mired in a stalemate for months. Last week, Russian-state news agency TASS said that Wagner Group mercenaries had near-total control of the city, but Moscow’s forces are continuing to make creeping advances on Kyiv’s troops in the area.
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported in an update on its Facebook page Monday that Russia’s “main effort” remains focused on claiming the Donetsk region, adding that “more than 30 enemy attacks have been repelled” during the day of fighting.
“The fiercest battles continue for Bakhmut and Maryinka,” the update read.
Ukrainian servicemen with the 24th Mechanized Brigade fire a Soviet 152mm self-propelled howitzer toward an enemy position on December 3, 2022, in Bakhmut, Ukraine. The Armed Forces of Ukraine reported on Monday that Kyiv’s troops fought off dozens of attacks from Moscow’s forces, adding that the “fiercest battles” continue around Bakhmut.
In a separate post later in the day, the Armed Forces reported that Russia bombarded Ukrainian troops and critical infrastructure throughout the country Monday with six missile strikes, 47 airstrikes and 25 multiple launch rocket system attacks. The update added that “further missile and airstrikes across Ukraine remain high.”
In response, Ukrainian Air Forces launched six airstrikes targeting Russian troops and military outposts and shot down two unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), the Armed Forces reported. Ukrainian artillery also successfully hit a Russian anti-aircraft missile system and two electronic warfare stations.
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported on Sunday that Wagner troops “may well be able to complete the seizure” of Bakhmut despite facing heavy losses. The U.S. think tank also mentioned that Russian Air Forces were “supporting the Wagner main effort” for Bakhmut, which could help drive a Ukrainian withdrawal from the area.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky previously said that he may order a withdrawal of Kyiv’s troops from Bakhmut if they are in danger of being encircled by Russia. The Ukrainian Armed Forces on Monday reported on Monday that Russia “led unsuccessful” attacks against the settlements of Novomarkove and Khromove, both west of Bakhmut.
The intense fighting in Bakhmut has likely left Russia in a tough position to defend against Ukraine’s highly anticipated counteroffensive in the spring, the ISW added in its assessment Sunday. According to the think tank, Moscow’s troops prove to be “exhausted” and “disorganized,” which “will likely pose significant obstacles to Russia’s prospects for defending critical sectors of the front line.”