(Reuters) – The situation for Russian forces trying to seize the Ukrainian town of Bakhmut is “difficult” as there are no signs that Kiev is ready to order the withdrawal of its troops, the leader installed by Russia in the Ukrainian region of Donetsk. .
Russian forces – led by private Wagner militia – have been trying for months to surround and capture the eastern Ukrainian town in what has turned into one of the bloodiest battles of the war which lasted a year.
Russia, which refers to the city by its Soviet-era name of Artyomovsk, says capturing the city will allow it to launch more offensives deeper into Ukrainian territory it says it is fighting for.” release”.
“The situation in Artyomovsk remains complex and difficult,” Denis Pushilin, the Russian head of Ukraine’s Donetsk region, said in an interview with state television on Thursday.
“That is to say, we see no premise that the enemy is just going to pull units out,” he added.
Wagner’s leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, said his forces controlled almost half of the city and only one exit route remained available to Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has repeatedly said he will not withdraw his forces from Bakhmut, even as Kiev and Western officials have downplayed the strategic importance of the city, which has been decimated by months of artillery bombardment and urban combat.
(Reporting by Caleb Davis; Writing by Jake Cordell; Editing by Guy Faulconbridge)