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A Ukrainian tank drives towards frontline positions near Bakhmut on Saturday, 4 March.

Russian advance may encounter heavy losses as Ukrainian snipers create 'killing zone’

UK military officials said Russian forces have made progress in the frontline hotspot of Bakhmut.bakhmut thejournal.

RUSSIAN FORCES HAVE made progress in the frontline hotspot of Bakhmut but their attack will be hard to sustain without further harsh losses, according to UK military officials.

Bakhmut is a key target of Moscow’s campaign in eastern Ukraine, which has resulted in staggering casualties.

The Kremlin-controlled paramilitary Wagner Group has captured most of eastern Bakhmut, which a river flowing through the city centre now marking the frontline, Britain’s Ministry of Defence said.

But, its assessment added, it will be “highly challenging” for Wagner forces to push ahead because Ukraine has destroyed key bridges over the river – while Ukrainian sniper fire from fortified buildings further west has made the thin strip of open group in the middle a “killing zone”.

At the same time, Ukrainian troops and supply lines in the mining city remain vulnerable to “continued Russian attempts to outflank the defenders from the north and south” as Russian forces try to close in on them in a pincer movement, the ministry said.

Meanwhile, Russian military bloggers and other pro-Kremlin Telegram accounts have  claimed that Russian forces have entered a metal processing factory in north-west Bakhmut.

A Washington-based think tank late last night also referenced geolocated footage showing Russian forces within 800 metres of the heavily built up and fortified Azom complex.

The Institute for the Study of War said Moscow’s apparent focus on capturing the factory, rather than opting for a “wider encirclement of western Bakhmut” by attempting to take nearby villages, is likely to bring a further wave of Russian casualties.

Hold the city

Ukraine’s ground forces today signalled their intention to hold the city, reporting on Facebook that their top officer continues to oversee “the most important sectors of the front” and “take the necessary measures” to deny Moscow a long-awaited battlefield victory.

Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi has made several visits to the Bakhmut and other eastern frontline hotspots over the past month.

Across Ukraine, repair work continued today after a massive Russian missile and drone strike two days earlier which killed six people and left hundreds of thousands without heat or electricity.

Ukraine’s state grid operator said power supply issues persist across four regions following the barrage, which saw 80 Russian missiles and a smaller number of exploding drones hit residential buildings and critical infrastructure across the country.

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