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The Devastating Battle for Bakhmut: Ukraine and Russia’s Loss of Life

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Russian and Ukrainian forces said casualties on both sides mounted as heavy fighting broke out for control of central Pakhmut in eastern Ukraine on Monday.

Ukraine said the Russian mercenary group Wagner, which it claimed was leading Moscow’s mission for the industrial city, was moving forward.

The city was the center of the fighting for several months, making it the longest and bloodiest battle in the Conquest of Moscow.

“The Wagner offensive units are advancing from several directions, trying to break through the defensive positions of our forces and move to the city center,” the Ukrainian military said in a morning briefing.

“In fierce battles, our defenders inflict heavy losses on the enemy,” she added.

Analysts are divided on the strategic importance of Bakhmut as a military prize, but the city has gained important political status, as both sides have poured significant resources into the fighting.

Wagner’s chief Yevgeny Prigozhin also admitted that his forces were facing determined resistance as they sought to wrest control of the city centre.

“The situation in Bakhmut is difficult, very difficult. The enemy is fighting with every meter,” Prigozhin said in a post on social media.

“The closer to the city center, the more difficult the battles and the more artillery … the Ukrainians throw endless reserves (into the fight),” Prigozhin said.

Ukraine said its strategy in defending Bakhmut was to weaken Russia’s ability to launch any further offensive in the coming months and buy time to prepare its attempt to retake territory.

“Increase” in the demand for weapons

Kiev has warned that the city’s fall would give Russian forces a clear path deeper into the Donetsk region, which the Kremlin claimed it annexed to Russia last year.

Russia has reported painstaking gains around Bakhmut in recent weeks, and has made progress encircling the city, but hasn’t made significant territorial gains in months.

Capturing the city would give the Kremlin a military win to sell to its domestic audience.

NATO warned last week that Bakhmut could fall within days, while Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky vowed to keep control of the city for “as long as possible”.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, now more than a year old, has seen arms imports into Europe nearly double in 2022, researchers said Monday, driven by massive shipments to Kiev, which has become the world’s third-largest weapons destination.

“The invasion has already caused a significant increase in the demand for weapons in Europe, which will have an additive effect and will likely lead to an increase in arms imports by European countries,” said Peter Wezemann, senior researcher at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). , told AFP.

Human Rights Watch said Monday that the Russian offensive had “devastating” consequences for children in residential institutions, with thousands being transferred to occupied territory or to Russia.

“This brutal war has starkly demonstrated the need to end the risks faced by institutionalized children,” said Bill Van Esveld, associate director for children’s rights at the New York-based organization.

The report stated that at least several thousand children were transferred to Russia or occupied territories.

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