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UK Defense Ministry: Ukrainian forces have 'likely stabilized' their defensive perimeter in Bakhmut
Ukrainian forces have 'likely stabilized' their defensive perimeter in Bakhmut following Russian efforts to encroach from the north of the city, according to the U.K. Defense Ministry's daily intelligence update published on March 7.
Both sides are suffering heavy losses in and around Bakhmut, the ministry said.
The report comes a day after President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an address to Ukrainians that there was consensus between him and Ukraine's top military leadership that Ukrainian forces should continue to hold the city.
Russia's losses in the battle for Bakhmut are understood to be significantly higher than Ukraine's, but concern is mounting about the attrition suffered by the Ukrainian brigades tasked with defending the near-encircled city.
Citing unnamed sources in the Ukrainian government, Bild reported on March 6 that Zelensky and Commander-in-Chief of Ukraine’s Armed Forces Valerii Zaluzhnyi disagree on how the military should handle the situation in Bakhmut.
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on March 6 that Bakhmut had more “symbolic” value than a “strategic one” for the Ukrainian military, and he predicted that Ukraine’s potential withdrawal from the city would not cause any major setbacks in the war.
Around March 2, Russian forces destroyed the only paved bridge still under Ukrainian control, and with the coming of spring, muddy unpaved roads are "likely" making Ukraine's resupply efforts more difficult.
The ministry added that ongoing disputes between the Russian military and the Wagner private mercenary group over weapons allocation highlight a larger issue for the Russian military in maintaining its attack.