KYIV, March 18 (Reuters) – Ukrainian forces outside the battered eastern city of Bakhmut are managing to keep Russian units at bay so ammunition, food, equipment and medicines can be delivered to defenders, the army said on Saturday.
And in the latest claim to have inflicted heavy casualties, Kyiv said its troops had killed 193 Russians and injured 199 others during the course of fighting on Friday.
Russia has made the capture of Bakhmut a priority in its strategy to take control of Ukraine’s eastern Donbas industrial region. The city has been largely destroyed in months of fighting, with Russia launching repeated assaults.
“We are managing to deliver the necessary munitions, food, gear and medicines to Bakhmut. We are also managing to take our wounded out of the city,” military spokesperson Serhiy Cherevaty told the ICTV television channel.
He said Ukrainian scouts and counter-artillery fire were helping keep open some roads into the city. As well as inflicting heavy casualties, pro-Kyiv forces shot down two Russian drones and destroyed five enemy ammunition depots on Friday, he added.
Reuters was unable to independently verify the claims. Last Sunday President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Russian forces suffered more than 1,100 dead in less than a week of battles in and around Bakhmut.
Reporting by Nick Starkov; Writing by David Ljunggren; Editing by Daniel Wallis
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.