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Land Forces сhief visits Bakhmut as fierce fighting continues on city outskirts
Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi, commander of Ukraine's Land Forces and Eastern Operational Command, visited embattled Bakmut in eastern Donetsk Oblast on Feb. 25 as Russian troops try to advance on the outskirts, the Land Forces reported on Telegram.
In his visit to command posts in the frontline city, Syrskyi assessed the state of units fighting in the area and listened to problems and requests raised by their commanders, the report said.
Intense fighting is ongoing around Bakhmut, already reaching the outskirts of the city, the brief said. Russia’s strategy of attacking Bakhmut and Vuhledar in Donetsk Oblast aims to delay Ukraine’s counteroffensive, Andriy Yusov, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s Main Intelligence Directorate spokesperson, reported on Feb. 15.
Russia is incurring heavy losses amid its near round-the-clock assault on Bakhmut. Kremlin-backed private mercenary Wager Group and Russian-backed militant groups active in eastern Ukraine are losing up to 80% of some assault units, Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said.
Supported by Russian regular troops, Wagner forces have been attempting to capture Bakhmut for months as Russia tries to increase its grip over the entirety of Ukraine's eastern Donetsk Oblast, around half of which it currently occupies.
Ukraine continues to hold Bakhmut despite the seven-month-long Russian attempt to capture the city. Approximately 380 clashes have been recorded in the area since the beginning of February, General Oleksiy Hromov said on Feb. 23.
Russia has likely set a goal to capture Donetsk Oblast's "key settlements" in the nearest future and seize control of the Donbas – an industrial heartland composed of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts – before the summer, according to Hromov.