The bloody battle for the city of Bakhmut in Ukraine’s Donetsk region has seen Russian forces trying to advance over the bodies of their dead comrades, the head of Ukraine’s armed forces has said.
Valerii Zaluzhnyi, commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian armed forces, wrote on Facebook on Tuesday that there was heavy fighting on the border of Svatove-Kreminna in Luhansk Oblast, as well as in the direction of Lysychansk. He said that “the most difficult situation remains in the Soledar-Bakhmut-Mayorsk area.”
“There, the enemy is actually using their corpses trying to advance, but the Defense Forces units are suppressing the enemy’s offensive,” he wrote, according to a translation, without specifying any further details. In another post he said that “the enemy is virtually attempting to advance over their corpses, but (Ukrainian) Defenсe Forces units constrain the enemy’s offensive.”
Newsweek has contacted the Russian defense ministry regarding the general’s claim.
Bakhmut has been the scene of bitter fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces. The head of Russia’s Wagner Group of mercenaries, Yevgeny Prigozhin has admitted that his soldiers have stalled in the city, which lies around eight miles southeast of Soledar and 16 miles north of Mayorksk.
The Institute for the Study of War said on Tuesday that Prigozhin had sought to blame the problems his troops had in making gains in the city on the Russian defense ministry, complaining about a lack of vehicles and ammunition in an interview.
Zaluzhnyi also said he had had his first phone conversation of 2023 with chairman of the U.S. joint chiefs of staff, General Mark Milley whom he thanked for providing anti-aircraft systems. They discussed “changes in the operational and strategic environment, primarily in the terrestrial and air spaces of Ukraine.”
Zaluzhnyi added that since New Year’s Eve, Russia had fired 14 missiles and 94 Iranian-supplied kamikaze drones.
On Wednesday, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said 720 Russian troops had been killed during the previous day, taking the death toll since the start of the war to 108,910, although Western estimates put this total much lower.
In its operational update, Ukraine’s armed forces said on Wednesday that over the previous day Russian forces had carried out 18 air strikes and shelled 85 targets.
These targeted civilian infrastructure in Kramatorsk, Zaporozhye and Kherson.
Meanwhile, Russia’s defense ministry blamed soldiers using cellphones for the Ukrainian missile strike that caused the biggest official loss of Russian troops in a single incident since the war began.
On Wednesday, the ministry raised the official death toll from the New Year’s Eve strike in Makiivka in the Donetsk Oblast from 63 to 89.
However, military bloggers have said the death toll was much higher and have criticized Russian commanders for stationing troops at the barracks located in a vocational college.
Source : MSN