Escalating conflict in Bakhmut sees intense shelling as Ukrainian forces launch coordinated assaults and push forward.
Bakhmut, September 22, 2023 – The city of Bakhmut and its surrounding villages are witnessing intensified conflict as Ukrainian forces unleash heavy shelling and coordinated assaults, according to a Russian official.
Denis Pushilin, a Russian-installed official, revealed in a Telegram video post that over the past 24 hours, Ukrainian forces have taken multiple actions in the Krasnolimansk (Lyman) direction. He described the situation in Bakhmut as “hot,” with the city experiencing chaotic shelling.
Pushilin listed several villages in the northern Donetsk region, near Lyman, which he claimed were under attack by Ukrainian forces. He asserted that these assaults had been repelled. Additionally, he reported that Ukrainian forces were massing assault battalions to the north of Bakhmut.
Bakhmut, which was captured by Russian forces in May after months of intense fighting, has been a focal point of the conflict. Ukrainian forces immediately launched counteroffensives, leading to the recapture of several previously destroyed villages, as reported by AFP.
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) provided the latest update, stating that Ukrainian forces conducted offensive operations near Bakhmut on September 21 and made advances. The report cited Ukrainian Eastern Group of Forces Spokesperson Ilya Yevlash, who claimed success near Odradivka, Andriivka, and Kurdyumivka, all in the vicinity of Bakhmut.
President Zelensky, in a recent statement to CNN, vowed to liberate Bakhmut and two undisclosed cities, outlining a comprehensive plan for these operations. The industrial area surrounding Bakhmut has borne the brunt of the conflict since Russia’s offensive began, making the battle for Bakhmut one of the longest and bloodiest episodes of the war.
Ukrainian forces initiated a counteroffensive against heavily fortified Russian positions in June, with progress unfolding slowly. The offensive primarily targeted the southern frontline, where Ukrainian forces managed to breach the heavily fortified Russian first defensive line at various points.
Geolocated footage indicated potential breakthroughs as Ukrainian armored vehicles were observed beyond what the ISW referred to as a “tri-layer” defense, west of Verbove, 18 kilometers southeast of Orikhiv.
Despite these gains, Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin, have consistently downplayed Ukrainian successes, asserting that Kyiv’s offensive capabilities are dwindling.