John Kirby, spokesperson for the United States National Security Council, made comments this week directed at the frontline fighting in Ukraine as the battle for Bakhmut continues. On Monday, Kirby stated that Ukrainian forces have not been pushed from the city, directly contesting the claims made by Wagner PMC which state that they had taken control of most of the city. Kirby also mentioned that another aid package would be sent to Ukraine in the coming days.
These comments came after the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense mocked Russia and said “they have not taken anything and are very far from doing so”. Ukrainian soldiers also took to social media to post pictures that were allegedly inside of Bakhmut to prove that the Russians have not advanced.
- Ukrainian armored vehicle patrolling the streets of Bahkmut.
The town was an industrial center before it became one of the bloodiest battlefields of the war, seeing an estimated 30,000 casualties, with numbers varying per side. Civilian casualties are about 4,000 and rising, according to Reuters and the Ukrainian M.O.D., with the city itself having been mostly destroyed by bombardments. There are still an estimated 1,000–2,000 people remaining in the city.
The reports regarding the fall of the city are conflicting, as Ukraine has claimed to have stopped over 20 advancements throughout the city in the last 24 hours, whereas Wagner Group claims a near total defeat for the Ukrainians. Regardless, taking the city would have come at a high price for the Russians, with the Ukrainian M.O.D. claiming that Ukraine has lost one soldier for every five Russians.