Less than 4,000 civilians — including 38 children — remain in the embattled city of Bakhmut in Donetsk Oblast, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said on national television on March 7.
Bakhmut, an industrial city with numerous factories in peacetime, was home to 70,000 people (including 12,000 children) before Russia's all-out war in Ukraine.
Bakhmut, the outskirts of which have been captured by Russian forces as of early March, has experienced some of the most intense fighting during the war. Russia has heightened their efforts to capture the city for the past seven months as part of its broader strategy to gain control of the entire Donbas region, which encompasses both Luhansk and Donetsk Oblasts.
President Volodymyr Zelensky in his nightly address on March 6 said that he and the Ukrainian military's top-level commanders made the decision to reinforce troops rather than withdraw from Bakhmut.