As of March 31, Ukrainian troops regained positions around Bakhmut, Donetsk region.
The Washington-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said this in its new report, according to Ukrinform.
“Ukrainian troops regained positions around Bakhmut, and Ukrainian officials continue to emphasize the importance of Ukraine’s continued defense in this area on March 31,” the report says.
The ISW said, referring to the General Staff of Ukraine, Russian troops continued storming the city of Bakhmut and conducted additional unsuccessful offensive operations northwest of Bakhmut near Orikhovo-Vasylivka.
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Geolocated footage posted on March 31 indicates that Ukrainian troops conducted a counterattack southwest of Bakhmut and regained lost positions south of Ivanivske (about 7km southwest of Bakhmut).
According to the ISW reported, Deputy Ukrainian Defense Minister Hanna Malyar stated on March 31 that Ukraine’s committed defense of Bakhmut has made it ”the most expensive” Russian effort of the war and noted that ”the time, weapons, equipment, and huge number of casualties spent by the enemy on the capture of Bakhmut do not justify themselves from the point of view of military expediency.”
Malyar’s statement supports ISW assessment that the Ukrainian defense of Bakhmut remains strategically sound as long as Ukrainian troops force Russian troops to attrit manpower and equipment without Ukrainian troops suffering excessive losses.
The ISW report also cited Commander of the Ukrainian Ground Forces Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi who said on March 31 that Russian forces in certain sectors of Bakhmut are noticeably nervous because time is against them, and they have fewer human resources with which to storm Ukrainian positions.
At the same time, the ISW notes that Russian forces continued offensive operations in and around Bakhmut and have made gains within the city as of March 31.
It is noted that Wagner Group forces continued attacks in northern and southern Bakhmut and unsuccessfully attempted to attack westwards towards Khromove.
Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin stated that there are no signs that Ukrainian troops are leaving Bakhmut.
As reported by Ukrinform, the Russian army continues to focus its main efforts on conducting offensive operations in the Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka and Marinka directions.