06 June 2023,   03:08
Ukraine says fighting “difficult” near Bakhmut as Russia claims gains

Kyiv said Monday that fighting around the frontline hotspot of Bakhmut was “difficult” as Russia claimed new gains in the longest-running battle of Moscow’s nearly year-old invasion, writes France24.

Ukraine has called on the West to send more weapons, but NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg warned that the alliance needed to ramp up the production of ammunition to keep up with Kyiv’s needs. The Ukrainian presidency said the situation was “difficult” near the eastern city of Bakhmut and the neighbouring town of Soledar.

“The village of Paraskoviivka is (coming) under intense shelling and assaults”, - the presidency said, referring to a hamlet on the northern outskirts of Bakhmut.

As the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine approaches, Moscow is seeking to ramp up hostilities in the eastern region of Donetsk in an effort to score its first significant victory after months of setbacks. Ukraine is determined not to cede more ground there, but Russia has made incremental gains towards capturing the destroyed city. The Ukrainian general staff said that Russian troops had shelled 16 settlements near Bakhmut with tanks, mortars and artillery on Sunday.

“Bakhmut is still the main area attacked by the enemy”, Ukrainian military spokesman Sergiy Cherevaty said on national television on Sunday.

Even though military observers have downplayed Bakhmut’s strategic importance, the city has turned into a key political and symbolic prize for Moscow.

Russia’s defence ministry said on Monday that Russian forces had captured Krasna Gora, a village near Paraskoviivka. The ministry in Moscow said “volunteer assault units” with fire support from Russian artillery had “liberated” the settlement. The announcement came after the Wagner private military group claimed to have captured the village at the weekend, without any ground support from regular Russian forces.