Ukrainian forces clinging to the eastern city of Bakhmut dug new trenches in an attempt to hold back Russian attackers.
Russian forces have been attacking Bakhmut in Donetsk province for months, sometimes in waves and the site has become one of the bloodiest battles of the war.“Fighting is going on in Bakhmut around the clock… The situation is critical,” Volodymyr Nazarenko, a deputy commander in the National Guard of Ukraine, told Ukrainian NV Radio.
“They take no account of their losses in trying to take the city by assault. The task of our forces in Bakhmut is to inflict as many losses on the enemy as possible. Every metre of Ukrainian land costs hundreds of lives to the enemy.”
In the past 24 hours, Ukrainian forces repelled more than 85 attacks in the five principal sectors of the Bakhmut front line, the General Staff of the Ukraine Military said on Friday.
Russia, which lost territory in the second half of 2022, says taking Bakhmut would be a step towards seizing the rest of the surrounding industrial region known as the Donbas.
Ukraine says the city has limited strategic value but wants to exhaust Russian forces. In nearby towns and villages, new trenches had been dug on the roadside 20-40 metres apart, a sign that Ukrainian forces were strengthening defensive positions.“We need as much ammunition as possible. There are many more Russians here than we have ammunition to destroy them,” Nazarenko said. “The number of enemy soldiers is not what matters. What matters is technology.”
The General Staff said in its morning report that Russia continued to target civilians, something Moscow denies, with air and missile strikes in Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson Oblasts.
“The enemy continues to violate the norms of International Humanitarian Law. There are wounded civilians, high-rise apartment buildings and private houses are damaged,” it said.
In the Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions more than 45 settlements came under Russian fire in the past 24 hours.
It said Russian mercenaries were stealing cars in the occupied Zaporizhzhia Oblast region from residents who did not have a Russian passports.
Russia has lost nearly 150,000 men in Ukraine until now. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) verified a total of 8,006 civilian deaths during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as of February 26, 2023. Of them, 488 were children. There were 13,479 people reported to have been injured. However, OHCHR specified that the real numbers could be higher.