4/7/2023 – | Last updated: 4/7/2023 10:39 AM (Makkah)
Russia revealed a new estimate of the time separating it from controlling the strategic city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, where the fiercest battles have been taking place for weeks. British sources also announced a remarkable field development that threatens the Ukrainian supply routes on this front.
The commander of the Russian military Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, said – in a video clip posted on Telegram yesterday, Thursday – that controlling Bakhmut may require between 3 and 4 weeks.
He added that Russia was still seeking to cut off the supply lines of the Ukrainians defending Bakhmut, which would enable them to enter the city from several directions and proceed to "destroy the main military targets".
Prigozhin acknowledged that his fighters are suffering increasing losses in the war in Ukraine, during his visit Thursday to a cemetery that he said was "continuing to grow."
In the video clip, the Wagner leader appeared standing in front of dozens of cemeteries, each of which were topped with crosses and wreaths of flowers were placed on them.
The cemetery is getting bigger
"We continue to bury Wagner fighters here and there is no problem with that even today. We will work to improve this cemetery and make it a memorial for future generations," Prigozhin said in the video. "Yes (the cemetery) is getting bigger. Those who fight are sometimes killed. That's how life goes."
According to Western estimates, the combined losses of the Russian forces (the Russian army, Wagner units, and pro-Moscow separatists) since the war began may reach more than 150,000 dead and wounded.
In a remarkable field development in Bakhmut, the British Ministry of Defense said today that Russia has taken control of the western bank of the Pakhmutka River, endangering a major supply route into Ukraine.
"Russia has made further gains and has now likely advanced into central Bakhmut. The main Ukrainian supply route 0506 to the west of the city is likely to be severely threatened," Britain's Defense Ministry said on Twitter in a circular.
The city of Bakhmut is located on both banks of the Pakhmutokva River in the north of Donetsk Province in the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine. Its foundation dates back to 1571, and it is the oldest historical and cultural center in the province.
In the summer of 2022, Bakhmut became the center of the military operations launched by the Russian forces in Donetsk, and for months it was subjected to several attempts to storm, especially by Wagner fighters, which were thwarted by the Ukrainian forces.
The pace of the Russian attack on Bakhmut accelerated in July 2022, after the withdrawal of Ukrainian forces from the Lugansk region adjacent to Donetsk, and the city was subjected to Russian bombardment for several months, and there were conflicting reports during the past weeks regarding its control between the two warring parties.
In a related context, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced – yesterday – that his country will continue to strengthen the security system with Belarus. In a speech during the meeting of the "Supreme Council of the State of the Russian-Belarusian Federation" in the capital, Moscow, with the participation of his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko, he stressed that they had begun to develop the concept of security for the federation state.
Putin made it clear that Belarus is his country's largest trading partner, noting that the volume of bilateral trade between the two countries increased by 35% in 2021, reaching $30 billion.
He pointed out that the volume of bilateral trade increased by 12% in 2022, and recorded $45 billion, considering that Russia and Belarus are strengthening cooperation in the fields of defence, security and military technology, and will continue to do so, and this meets the basic interests of the two countries and peoples.
For his part, Lukashenko stated that the West is blockading Belarus and Russia economically. He added that due to the failure of these attempts, pressure began in the military field, as the forces and vehicles of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) meet on the borders of the two countries.