Kiev: Ukraine is considering the possibility of withdrawing from Bakhmut, also known as Artyomovsk, to spare troops and weapons ahead of an anticipated counteroffensive elsewhere on the battlefield, the Washington Post reported on Sunday, citing the Ukrainian military.
The city of Soledar next to Bakhmut went under the control of Russian forces earlier this week. The Russian Defense Ministry said the takeover paved the way for encircling and cutting off Ukrainian troops in Bakhmut.
“But we have lost many friends in the defense of this city, so we do not want to surrender it now. But maybe a temporary withdrawal would save some of our people,” an anonymous Ukrainian commander told the Washington Post, adding that his unit suffered “great losses.”
Another Ukrainian military commander of an intelligence battalion currently fighting in Bakhmut, Yuriy Skala said that Kiev could decide to make a tactical maneuver in the area to spare Ukrainian troops.
“I will support the commander in chief’s decision to maneuver tactically and create a new line of defense if it becomes clear that casualties are too high,” Skala said.
The newspaper said, citing military analysts, that even though Bakhmout had little strategic importance in the grand scheme of things, the surrender of the city would be seen as a defeat from the political point of view.
Bakhmut is located on the Kiev-controlled part of the Donetsk People’s Republic’s (DPR) to the north of the large city of Horlivka, and is an important transport hub for supplying Ukrainian troops stationed in Donbas.