JAKARTA - Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the situation around Bakhmut was very dangerous, after the protracted fighting lasted for months to fight over the city.
"Thank you to our soldiers who fought in Avdivka, Maryinka, and Bakhmut. Especially Bakhmut," President Zelensky said in a video evening address.
"It was very tense there", he continued.
In his video address, President Zelensky also said that two people had died in a Russian mortar attack near the city of Konotop in the northern region of Sumy.
He noted earlier reports that Russian attacks had killed six people in Kostyantynivka City in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine. Eleven people were injured.
Separately, Russian mercenaries Wagner Group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin said his forces had raised the Russian flag at the city's government building.
However, there is no indication from Ukrainian officials that Bakhmut has fallen to Russia. Previously, Prigozhin had made a claim too early.
Prigozhin, in an audio message posted on his press service Telegram account, said: "From a legal point of view, Bakhmut has been captured. The enemy is concentrated in the west."
Russian troops have been trying to surround and seize Bakhmut, a city of 70 thousand people before the Russian invasion was launched more than a year ago.
A senior Ukrainian official previously described the situation around the city as "tight," with the military command considering each step carefully.
Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malar said Ukrainian forces were continuing to maintain their position. Meanwhile, Russian troops did not pay much attention to their losses as they carried out the attack.
"The situation in Bakhmut is still tense," said Maliar on Telegram.
"However, every military decision and every step is carefully weighed... We respond to the existing situation appropriately, taking into account all circumstances, the duties and principles of military feasibility," said Malar.
Earlier, President Zelensky and military commanders agreed last month to defend Bakhmut's defense, amid public debate over whether it was best to stay or take other defensive positions.
Meanwhile, Ukraine's leading military analyst by Zhdanov said fighting had hit the city center. Ukrainian troops have fended off 25 enemy attacks, but Russian forces have seized the AZOM metal factory, which Ukrainian forces have maintained for days.
"The enemy attacked the city center from the north, east and south and tried to take over the city under full control," Zhdanov, who has close ties to the Ukrainian military, said in a video broadcast on YouTube.
"In some places, we have succeeded and in some places we have even carried out retaliatory attacks. But the enemy sometimes records several successes given the number of troops and the number of daily attacks," he explained.
Another military analyst Yuri Butusov said Ukraine was hampered by a lack of defense planning, particularly near Avdivka, the second city to be attacked in the Donetsk region.
"We are still short of planning in terms of building a stationary, well-considered, and well-maintained defensive position," Butusov said in a weekend interview with Radio NV Ukraine.
"This is the nature of the crisis near Avdivka and in other areas on the front lines. The enemy knocks down one by one. And there is no back position," he said.
The English, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, and French versions are automatically generated by the AI. So there may still be inaccuracies in translating, please always see Indonesian as our main language. (system supported by DigitalSiber.id)