Image ID 2K71WW9 Destroyed residential buildings seen in Bakhmut 15102022 CREDIT Ashley Chan,SOPA,ZUMA Press Wire, Alamy EXP 03122023
Destroyed residential buildings seen in Bakhmut (Picture: Ashley Chan/ SOPA/ Zuma Press/ Alamy Stock Photo).
Ukraine

Russian forces continue to invest large military effort around Bakhmut

Image ID 2K71WW9 Destroyed residential buildings seen in Bakhmut 15102022 CREDIT Ashley Chan,SOPA,ZUMA Press Wire, Alamy EXP 03122023
Destroyed residential buildings seen in Bakhmut (Picture: Ashley Chan/ SOPA/ Zuma Press/ Alamy Stock Photo).

Russia is investing a large amount of its "overall military effort and firepower" in the Ukrainian town of Bakhmut, according to the latest defence intelligence.

The Ministry of Defence's (MOD) latest intelligence update said: "Russia has prioritised Bakhmut as its main offensive effort since early August 2022".

"The capture of the town would have limited operational value although it would potentially allow Russia to threaten the larger urban areas of Kramatorsk and Sloviansk," the MOD report added.

The MOD's intelligence did however highlight the campaign "has been disproportionately costly relative to these possible gains".

"There is a realistic possibility that Bakhmut's capture has become primarily a symbolic, political objective for Russia," the report said.

Russian forces have been bombarding Ukraine's critical infrastructure since October, leaving millions without electricity amid cold winter weather.

A top adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, citing military chiefs, said that since Russia invaded on 24 February, 10,000 to 13,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed in action. This was far below estimates from Western leaders.

"We have official figures from the general staff, we have official figures from the top command, and they amount to between 10,000 and 12,500-13,000 killed," Mykhailo Podolyak, said on Thursday. He also said civilian casualties were "significant".

Mr Zelensky's office reported on Friday that at least three civilians were killed and 16 wounded in Ukraine in the past 24 hours.