- Ukraine's defense of the Donetsk city of Bakhmut is 'under severe pressure,' the UK's defense ministry said in its latest intelligence briefing on Saturday. 'Regular Russian Army and Wagner Group forces have made further advances into the northern suburbs of the city, which is now a Ukrainian-held salient, vulnerable to Russian attack[s] on three sides.'1
- The ministry added Ukraine is reinforcing the area with elite units, but that: 'Within the last 36 hours two key bridges in Bakhmut have been destroyed, including a vital bridge connecting the city to the last main supply route from Bakhmut to the city of Chasiv Yar.'1
- It comes as Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin said his forces had 'practically surrounded' Bakhmut in a video on Friday and called for a Ukrainian withdrawal. 'Previously, the professional Ukrainian army fought against us, while today we are seeing more and more elders and children. They are fighting, but their life near Bakhmut is short: only a day or two. Please give them a chance to leave the city,' he said.2
- Elsewhere in Donetsk, Ukrainian officials said two civilians were injured in Ukrainian attacks over the past day — one in Chasiv Yar and another in the settlement of Zvanivka. One civilian was also injured in the Kharkiv region, while one civilian was killed and 10 more injured in Russian attacks on the Kherson region over the past day.3
- Russian attacks were also recorded in the regions of Sumy, Luhansk, and Mykloaiv, as well as Dnipropetrovsk and Zaporizhzhia, without reports of civilian casualties at this stage. In Ukrainian attacks, pro-Russia officials reported five civilians were injured in Donetsk while a drone reportedly struck a substation of the Transneft-Druzhba oil pipeline in Russia's Belgorod region.4
- Meanwhile, the US announced a new $400M military aid package for Ukraine on Friday — taking US support for Ukraine to $32B since the start of the Russian invasion. The package will include armored vehicles that can launch bridges for the first time but will largely consist of ammunition and shells for existing weapons amid reports that Ukraine is facing shortages.5
- Pro-Russia narrative, as provided by Tass. 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, as provided by Us news . 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.