Pro-Russian forces have claimed in Russian media that Bakhmut is nearly encircled. Tass quoted Col Vitaly Kiselev on behalf of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic saying “Bakhmut has practically been ‘embraced’ from three sides, an intensive knocking out of the enemy is underway. They are trying, and I am sure that they will succeed … to go to the Chasiv Yar area, from where intensive shelling is going on back to Soledar, Bakhmut.”
Ukraine’s state broadcaster Suspilne is reporting that the Kinburn Peninsula, a strip of land that protrudes from the southern side of Kherson oblast on the left bank of the Dnieper River, is in the “grey zone”, with neither Ukrainian or Russian military fully in control of the territory.
The British Ministry of Defence’s latest intelligence update says that recent days have seen “some of the most intense shelling of the conflict” along the Dniepr River. “This has included continued shelling of Kherson city,” the ministry notes – adding that, outside the Donbas, Kherson is the city most consistently shelled in the conflict. “Russia’s precise rationale for expending its strained ammunition stocks here is unclear. However, commanders are likely partially aiming to degrade civilian morale and to deter any Ukrainian counterattacks accross the river,” the ministry adds.
Russian forces are preparing for a renewed attack on Ukraine imminently, most likely in the coming months, according to analysts. Citing western, Ukrainian and Russian sources, the US thinktank the Institute for the Study of War said Moscow was “preparing for an imminent offensive”, pointing to remarks by the Nato secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, who said there were “no signs” that Vladimir Putin was “preparing for peace”.
Military casualties on both sides in the war have totalled about 200,000, a western official has said, with a similar number killed and wounded on either side. A higher proportion of Russians had been killed, the official added, because they have been on the offensive, meaning that “they’ve suffered more fatalities than the Ukrainians on balance”.