After months of bloody fighting, Bakhmut might be forced to concede to the Russian army. Ukraine, however, wants to resist until the very end.
The Russian army is slowly but surely advancing around the city of Bakhmut. TASS agency reports that Russia surrounded the city and is steadily closing in, albeit Ukrainian fierce resistance.
For Ukraine, Bakhmut has become a symbol of heroic fight, as much as Mariupol used to be at the start of the conflict. However, much like Mariupol, it could not end well for Kyiv.
“[Bakhmut] is currently in an operational encirclement and our forces are closing in on the city,” said Donetsk Republic advisor Yan Gagin. “Fighting is underway to control the highway connecting [Bakhmut] with Chasov Yar because it is the only route that Ukraine can use to provide supplies to its troops in [Bakhmut].”
A few weeks ago, Russia seized control of the village of Soledar, a few kilometers outside the attacked city. Soledar too was an important supply point for the Ukrainian army, which is increasingly more isolated from the rest of the country.
Ukraine is deploying an increasing amount of military resources for the defense of the city. Bakhmut became the crucial point of the war for both sides, as Russia considers it the linchpin of the Ukrainian resistance in the Donbass.
However, hope for Ukraine is not completely lost.
Life in a besieged city
Many are drawing comparisons between Bakhmut and Mariupol, the port city conquered by Russia early in the war. Mariupol fell after a 82-day long siege, and it was completely surrounded from all sides. Mariupol was also assaulted immediately, leaving little time to mount an appropriate resistance.
Bakhmut, on the other hand, is still connected with the rest of the country. Russia, however, has finally understood the proper tactic of besieging. Instead of committing frontal assault after frontal assault, Russia is now using its superior numbers to cut off enemy supplies.
Therefore, despite still being loosely connected with the rest of Ukraine, life in Bakhmut is completely broken. The Associated Press describes it as a ghost city where once tourism and businesses thrived.
Most of the 80.000 pre-war residents have either left or died. Those who remained have to live with little to no food, water and basic utilities.
Bakhmut is being slowly razed to the ground by the war.
But neither the Ukrainian army nor the Ukrainian population have any intention of leaving. Losing Bakhmut would be a serious strategic setback for Ukraine, and by now every remaining resident wants to resist to the last inch of ground.
“Bakhmut has already become a symbol of Ukrainian invincibility,” said an Ukrainian soldier. That is, of course, if Bakhmut manages to resist until the end.