The head of the breakaway Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) said Monday that Russian forces control 75% of the Donestk city of Bakhmut and that fighting was still raging.
“I can say with certainty right now that our forces control over 75% of the city,” DPR head Denis Pushilin said on Russian TV, according to the Russian news agency TASS. Pushilin said it was too early to say that Russia controlled all of Bakhmut and said there was fierce fighting in the western districts of the city.
Also on Monday, Ukrainian military leaders reported heavy Russian attacks. Gem. Oleksandr Syrskyi, the commander of Ukraine’s ground forces, said Kyiv’s defense of the city would continue, calling the situation “difficult but controllable.”
Syrskyi also accused Russia of using “scorched earth” tactics in Bakhmut by destroying buildings and Ukrainian positions. Pushilin made a similar accusation of the Ukrainian side, saying Ukrainian forces were destroying areas it retreated from.
“When the enemy is forced to retreat under our onslaught of our forces, it also seeks to inflict maximum damage. The city administration building was blown up with a rather large amount of explosives,” Pushulin said.
Russian and Ukrainian forces have been battling for the city since August 2022. Russia began making slow but significant gains in January, but Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is determined to keep defending the city. Zelensky recently told AP that he fears if he loses Bakhmut, he will be pressured to “compromise” with Russia.
Due to the heavy casualty rate, Bakhmut has become known as the “meat grinder.” Ukrainians fighting on the front lines have told the media that soldiers are being sent into battle with very little training, support, and ammunition.