All of the conditions needed for Ukraine to retake Bakhmut are in place, the commander of the Ground Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has said.

In an interview with BBC Ukraine on Thursday, Oleksandr Syrskyi said Russian forces were “semi-encircled” in the ruined city, a situation Kyiv’s forces “simply cannot help but take advantage of.”

“I believe it was a big mistake of Wagner when they completely climbed into Bakhmut and suffered… crazy losses in personnel.

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At this time, all the conditions have been created for us to retake this city, but with ten times fewer losses.”

Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin said in May that 20,000 of his fighters had been killed in the battle for Bakhmut.

Answering the question of how long it will take to recapture the city, Syrskyi said that he does not know, but "will try to do it as soon as possible."


"Our people expect victories from us. Various victories, symbolic victories," he added.

Syrskyi said the importance of recapturing the city is "the road from Debaltseve, Siversk, Horlivka, Kostiantynivka, and the road from Sloviansk all pass through it."

"This is the center where all those paths converge," said Syrskyi. He also said recapturing the city would have implications for future Ukrainian counteroffensive operations.

He said: "In general, the area around Bakhmut is a concentration of various dominant heights that allow you to control a large part of the surrounding area, on the approaches to Bakhmut. 

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Zelensky said that he awarded Zaluzhny the Hero of Ukraine title in gratitude for the general’s defense of the nation, stating “I am very grateful to him.”

This increases its role as a bridgehead for further offensive actions," the commander added.

Western analysts confirm Ukrainian claims of gains in the Bakhmut sector in recent days.

In its latest daily assessment, the Institute for the Study of War, said: “Ukrainian forces conducted counteroffensive operations on at least three sectors of the front on July 19 and made gains in these areas.

“Geolocated footage published on July 19 indicates that Ukrainian forces made gains near Andriivka (10km southwest of Bakhmut).” 


Earlier this month Kyiv said Russian forces in Bakhmut were “trapped” and the city was under Ukrainian fire control.

Deputy Defense Minister Ganna Malyar said Ukrainian troops had captured key heights around the eastern city, as the country pushes ahead with its counteroffensive.

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And still many Europeans, including Brits, see the war as far away & nothing to do with them. It is convenient for a government which has diminished public services to blame its own misdeeds on external factors, first Covid, now Ukraine. And our education system is teaching children nothing about politics, except for breast-beating about the evils of the past British empire. I hope the UK will continue to offer robust support to Ukraine, but the sooner Ukrainians can take back their territory - hampered as they are by the lack of air cover & a sufficiency of long range missiles - the better, before Western leaders say they can no longer supply what Ukraine needs.