On Friday, Britain intelligence reported that it is very likely that the Russian forces have seized the center of the fiercely contested city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine and are threatening a key supply route for Ukrainian forces to the west.
Both Russian and Ukrainian forces are engaged in a fierce battle to gain control of the center of Bakhmut, with the former putting all-out efforts to gain control of the region, while the latter is trying everything to protect it with limited resources.
Various media reports suggest that the conflict in Bakhmut has stretched for a month and has proven to be one of the bloodiest of the war.
Reuters reported that according to a Ukrainian military command spokesman, the situation in Bakhmut was difficult, and Russian forces were putting all efforts to take the city, but not achieving strategic success.
In contrast, Friday’s daily update from Britain intelligence usually emphasized Ukrainian military successes but stated that Russia had made further gains and had likely advanced into the town center, seizing the west bank of the Bakhmutka River.
Ukrainian forces under pressure
The report, if confirmed, suggests that Ukrainian forces are under severe pressure, two days after President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said they would withdraw if at risk of encirclement.
Eastern Military Command spokesperson Serhiy Cherevatyi stated that Ukraine controlled the situation in Bakhmut and understood Russian intentions, but the enemy was suffering serious losses.
Western analysts claim that both sides are losing large numbers of troops in the battle, and while they downplay the strategic significance of the city, Ukraine sees its defense as a way of wearing down Russian forces before a counter-offensive with advanced Western-supplied weapons.
Russia is seeking to fully occupy Donetsk and three other provinces in eastern and southern Ukraine, which it declared annexed last year after failing to seize the capital Kyiv in an attempt to overrun Ukraine early in the war.