Intense fighting is raging around the city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, where analysts assess that Russian forces are making gradual gains as they seek to encircle Ukrainian units.
In its Monday operational note, the Ukrainian military said Russia “continues its attempts to assault the city of Bakhmut” and surrounding settlements. It lists about six nearby settlements that came under fire.
On Sunday, the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War said that geolocated video footage suggests that “Wagner Group forces continued to make advances in northeastern Bakhmut and advanced near the Stupky railway station,” which is north of the city.
The ISW said “Ukrainian forces are unlikely to withdraw from Bakhmut all at once and may pursue a gradual fighting withdrawal to exhaust Russian forces through continued urban warfare.”
However, as yet, Russian forces do not appear to have crossed the Bakhmutka River — which runs along the eastern outskirts of the city — into central Bakhmut.
On Monday, two Bakhmut officials outside the city, including the deputy mayor, told CNN that military engineers have erected a temporary metal bridge to replace one that was destroyed late last week on the northern supply route into Bakhmut from Chasiv Yar.
The deputy mayor said the main southern route into Bakhmut from Ivanivske is harder to use because another bridge has been destroyed.
An embedded Russian war correspondent, Evgeny Poddubny, claimed that some Ukrainian forces have begun retreating from Bakhmut.
Officials in the Donetsk region say Russian artillery and missile fire continues to inflict damage on many settlements.
Pavlo Kyrylenko, head of the Donetsk region military administration, said one person was killed and three wounded in Bakhmut.
A Russian missile strike on the nearby city of Kramatorsk destroyed a school, but preliminary information suggests there were no casualties, he added.
In the hotly contested area around Vuhledar, one person was wounded when the town came under Russian fire. The settlements of Avdiivka and Kurakhove also sustained damage.