Russia has deployed all its forces to Bakhmut, and is trying to completely surround the city, Commander of the Land Forces Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi told the Military Media Center.Noting that Russia is conducting offensive actions along all of Ukraine’s eastern front, Syrskyi remarked that the fighting is most fierce in the areas of Kreminna, Torske, Bilohorivka, Spirne, but especially in Bakhmut — the epicenter of attacks.
“The enemy has deployed all its forces and is trying to break through the defense in several directions and completely surround the city.
Fighting is ongoing in the north, east and south of the city; thanks to the courage of our soldiers, the enemy suffers huge losses and once again retreats without success.Unfortunately, we also suffer losses, but much less than our defenders inflict on the enemy.
In some areas, our units have partial success,” Syrskyi said.
Ukraine’s military command has defended its decision to maintain the defense of Bakhmut despite criticism from the US that it is a too costly price to pay for a non-strategic city.
In particular, Colonel Serhiy Cherevatyi, spokesman for the Eastern Group of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, said on air of Ukraine’s national newscast that the defense of Bakhmut is a harbinger the future offensive by Ukrainian Army. The main task of the Ukrainian Army is to in inflict enormous losses on Russia in this spot, “exhausting and bleeding the enemy, in addition to their combat power, breaking their moral and psychological state.”
Noting that Russia has failed to take Bakhmut for eight months, Cherevatyi said that while this defense is going on, Ukrainian troops are being trained abroad, and that the current defenders of Bakhmut are “preparing the ground” for these future brigades to “confidently attack this broken enemy and throw him out of Ukraine.”
On 16 March, Ukrainian troops killed 225 occupiers near Bakhmut and wounded 306, while Russia shelled Ukrainian positions 256 times, Cherevatyi said.