Ukraine and Russia asserted on Saturday that hundreds of enemy soldiers were killed in the previous day's battle for Bakhmut, with Kyiv fighting off unceasing onslaught and a small river that bisects the town now serving as the new front line.
At Bakhmut, Ukrainian military spokesperson Serhiy Cherevatyi reported that 221 pro-Moscow forces were killed and more than 300 were wounded. According to the Russian defense ministry, up to 210 Ukrainian soldiers were killed in the Donetsk sector of the battlefield.
The eastern Donetsk village of Bakhmut, which is now practically deserted, was the location of one of the bloodiest and longest fights of the year-long war, though Moscow did not quantify the number of casualties.
Both sides have claimed to suffering and inflicting substantial losses in Bakhmut, however it is difficult to independently verify the precise number of casualties.
Saturday, British military intelligence reported that Russia's Wagner mercenary group has gained control of the majority of the eastern portion of Bakhmut, a claim made by the outfit's founder Yevgeny Prigozhin on Wednesday.
The Bakhmutka River is now the front line in the city center, according to the British Defense Ministry's daily intelligence report.
The general in charge of defending Bakhmut stated that its protection was crucial for a Ukrainian counterstrike, as Ukraine asserted it was hanging on in Bakhmut and delivering a "good rebuff" to Russian forces.
Saturday, Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi was quoted by the military as saying, "It is vital to acquire time to gather reserves and launch a counteroffensive, which is imminent."
According to Russia, taking Bakhmut would weaken Ukrainian defenses and be a precursor to seizing the whole Donbas industrial region, a significant objective. According to Kiev, the conflict is wearing down Russia's strongest units.
Saturday, Prigozhin reported that he is currently 1.2 kilometers (0.75 miles) from the city's administrative center. On the west bank of the Bakhmutka River stands the center.
Due to the river passing across some open terrain, according to British intelligence, "this area has become a killing zone, making it extremely difficult for Wagner forces to continue their frontal attack to the west."
Yet, the situation for Ukrainian forces remained precarious.
"The Ukrainian force and their supply routes to the west remain susceptible to Russia's ongoing efforts to outflank the defenders from the north and south," the report stated.