Day 370: Bakhmut Situation Growing 'More and More Difficult,' Says Zelenskyy

    Day 370: Bakhmut Situation Growing 'More and More Difficult,' Says Zelenskyy
    Last updated Feb 28, 2023
    Image credit: [via the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office]


    • In his nightly address on Monday, Ukrainian Pres. Volodymyr Zelenskyy said his troops faced an increasingly precarious situation in the Donetsk city of Bakhmut, where fierce clashes for control of the city have been ongoing for several months. "The situation is getting more and more difficult," Zelenskyy said. "The enemy is constantly destroying everything that can be used to protect our positions, to gain a foothold and ensure defense."[1]
    • The message was echoed by the commander of Ukraine's ground forces, Col. Gen. Oleksandr Syrskyi, who on Tuesday described the situation as "extremely tense." He continued, saying: "Despite significant losses, the enemy threw in the most prepared assault units of Wagner, who are trying to break through the defences of our troops and surround the city."[2]
    • Ukrainian officials said two civilians were killed and 13 more were injured in Russian attacks on the wider Donetsk region in the past day. Russian attacks were also recorded in the regions of Luhansk, Sumy, Dnipropetrovsk, and Zaporizhzhia, as well as Kharkiv and Kherson — there were no additional reports of civilian casualties at this stage.[3]
    • Elsewhere, Russian authorities temporarily closed the airspace around, and suspended all flights to and from, St Petersburg's Pulkovo Airport on Tuesday, after unconfirmed reports suggested that an unidentified object had been spotted in the sky near the transport hub. The restrictions were later lifted and Russia's defense ministry claimed the airspace was closed due to a training exercise used to simulate an emergency.[4]
    • Meanwhile, an explosion was recorded overnight in the southern Russian region of Krasnodar Krai, setting fire to a Rosneft oil refinery in the city of Tuapse. Russian officials did not acknowledge the blast, but said they had foiled a Ukrainian drone attack in the same region.[5]
    • Further afield, China accused the US of "outright bullying and double standards," after a number of Chinese entities were placed on US sanctions lists on Monday. The country's foreign ministry spokeswoman, Mao Ning, said: "While the US has intensified its efforts to send weapons to one of the parties to the conflict, resulting in an endless war, it has frequently spread false information about China’s supply of weapons to Russia, taking the opportunity to sanction Chinese companies for no reason."[6]


    Pro-Russia narrative

    Russian forces are continuing to capture towns on the outskirts of Bakhmut and progressing with their plans of encircling the city. Its capture is important as it will pave the way to securing the rest of the Donetsk region.

    Anti-Russia narrative

    Fierce fighting has already been going on in Bakhmut for months and, even if Russia prevails, it will have lost so many men and so much equipment that the result could hardly be celebrated. A Moscow victory in the region might be a symbolic gain, but would provide little strategic benefit in the wider conflict.

    Nerd narrative

    There is a 20% chance that Russia will capture or surround a large Ukrainian city before June 1, 2023, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

    Establishment split



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