At a press conference in Kiev, Malyar said: “Despite the fact that the enemy has concentrated his most professional units in Bakhmut, including Wagner fighters, air assault units and special forces, the Russ*ans cannot achieve their goals there, i.e. . take full control of Bakhmut.
“Today, the Russ*ans are suffering huge losses there, and despite these losses, they do not stop and still want to achieve their goal of taking the city under their control.”
Recent social media videos geolocated by CNN show buildings in the besieged city reduced to rubble, and drone footage released on Wednesday by Russ*an state media RIA Novosti shows the extent of the devastation caused by the months-long battle.
Alexei Gromov, Deputy Chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the General Staff, said that the Bakhmut region remains the most difficult, and “the enemy continues offensive operations in the central part of Bakhmut, as well as in the directions of Bogdanovka and Ivanovskoye to encircle the city from the north and south.”
“In order to strengthen the offensive potential, part of the enemy’s forces and means were transferred to the Bakhmut area from the Avdeevsky direction,” he said.
“Every day in the Bakhmut area, the enemy makes 40 to 50 attempts at offensive strikes, carrying out more than 500 attacks using all available weap*ns.
“At the same time, the military-political leadership of the Russ*an Federation does not take into account the loss of personnel. For example, in the last two weeks alone, the enemy has lost about 4,500 Wagner fighters and regular servicemen of the Russ*an Armed Forces killed and wounded in the Bakhmut area,” Khromov added.
CNN cannot independently verify Ukra*ne’s claims of Russ*an casualties on the battlefield. Both sides claim that the other suffered huge losses.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder and head of the Wagner PMC, said last month that Bakhmut had “already practically annihilated the Ukra*nian army,” adding that “unfortunately” Wagner was also “pretty battered.”
Some background: The city of Bakhmut is located to the northeast of the Donetsk region, about 21 km from the Luhansk region, and has been a target of Russ*an troops for several months. Since the summer of last year, the city had been a stone’s throw from the front line, so taking it would mean a long-awaited success for the Moscow troops – and would have some strategic value. The city has important road links with other parts of the Donetsk region; east to the border with Lugansk, northwest to Slavyansk and southwest to Konstantinovka.
CNN’s Rob Picheta contributed to this post.