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War in Ukraine, day 375 | Russian army continues efforts to encircle Bakhmout, Kyiv says



(Kyiv) Russian troops are continuing their efforts to encircle the symbolic city of Bakhmout, epicenter of the war in eastern Ukraine, the Ukrainian army said on Sunday, claiming however to have repelled new attacks.

In its daily report, the Ukrainian General Staff claimed that “more than 130 enemy attacks” had been hindered in the past 24 hours, in several sectors of the front, notably in Kupyansk, Lyman, Bakhmout and Avdiivka.

“The enemy continues its attempts to encircle the city of Bakhmout,” he continued, without further details.

Villages north and west of Bakhmout were attacked, Serhii Tcherevatyi, spokesman for the Eastern Grouping of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, told CNN on Saturday.

Earlier in the day, he said the situation in Bakhmout was “difficult but under control”.


A Ukrainian tank on the front line near Bakhmout

The battle for Bakhmout, an industrial city whose strategic importance is disputed, has been going on since the summer. The city has become a symbol because it has been at the heart of fighting between Russians and Ukrainians for months.

The paramilitary group Wagner, on the front line in Bakhmout, assured Friday that it had “virtually surrounded” the city and called on President Volodymyr Zelensky to order the withdrawal of his troops.

On Saturday, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a group of American experts, acknowledged that Russian forces had captured positions in Bakhmout that could allow them to bypass some Ukrainian defenses.

“The Russians could try to encircle the Ukrainian forces in Bakhmout, but the Ukrainian command gave the signal that it preferred to withdraw rather than risk an encirclement”, estimates this source.

On Sunday, the pro-Russian separatist army of Donetsk, auxiliaries to the Russian forces, released a video purporting to show Wagner fighters in the northern suburb of Bakhmout, claiming that the small Stoupky railway station, north of the city, had been conquered.

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