On Monday, Ukrainian soldiers faced unrelenting Russian attacks on the devastated town of Bakhmut in the Donetsk area's eastern region of Donetsk. Both sides reported increasing enemy fatalities as they fought across a tiny river that bisects the ruined town and is now the front line.
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy of Ukraine reported late Sunday that his forces had killed over 1,100 Russian soldiers in the past few days while fighting for control of Bakhmut.
"In less than a week, beginning on March 6, we were able to kill almost 1,100 enemy forces in the Bakhmut sector alone, an irreversible defeat for Russia," Zelenskiy said in his nightly video presentation.
He said that the Soviet forces suffered 1,500 "sanitary losses," or men wounded severely enough to render them ineffective.
Russia's defence ministry reported earlier that its forces had killed over 220 Ukrainian soldiers in the Donetsk region over the preceding 24 hours.
The Bakhmutka River, which flows through the town, marks the front line, British intelligence reported in a weekend update. Ukrainian forces control the west of the virtually deserted mining town of Bakhmut, while Russia's Wagner mercenary organization controls most of the eastern side.
Russian forces continue offensive operations in the Donetsk region's Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka, Maryinka, and Shakhtar sectors, the Ukrainian military reported on Monday, adding that Ukrainian forces had repelled 102 strikes in these locations during the last day.
According to the military, Ukraine withstood attacks near four settlements in the Bakhmut region, while at least eleven settlements came under fire in the past day.
It stated, "The enemy continues to attempt to conquer the city of Bakhmut."
Sunday, the founder of Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin, stated that the situation in Bakhmut was "difficult, really severe."
"The closer we come to the city centre, the more intense the combat... The Ukrainians provide inexhaustible reserves. Nonetheless, we are advancing and will continue to grow. "According to statements provided by his press department, Prigozhin remarked.
He also stated that Russian soldiers assisted his troops with munitions.
"Yesterday, we received 15 truckloads; today, we received 12. I believe they will continue to arrive. "He added that there was no conflict between his soldiers and the Russian forces.
Prigozhin has previously alleged that Russia's top brass was purposefully starving his troops of ammunition, an allegation that the defence ministry refuted.
Once Bakhmut is taken, Wagner will "begin to reboot" and begin hiring, according to Prigozhin. Wagner has established recruitment offices in 42 cities to refill its personnel.
Waiting for tanks
While Bakhmut's strategic worth is debatable, Russia views its capture as a crucial step toward achieving the war's principal objective: seize all of Ukraine's Donbas industrial region. Donetsk and Luhansk constitute the Donbas.
Despite initial indications that it will leave, Ukraine has decided to continue fighting in Bakhmut to weaken Russia's most muscular units before its spring onslaught.
As the weather improves and more military aid, including heavy Leopard and Challenger tanks, comes, analysts anticipate that the Ukrainian counteroffensive will begin in earnest in April and May.
According to Leonid Khoda, a distinguished Ukrainian tank brigade commander, introducing Western tanks will substantially impact military strategy.
"Everyone is waiting, even the 1st Tank Brigade. We recently dispatched personnel to learn to operate (Leopard) 2A6 aircraft, "Khoda, who leads the 1st Siversk Tank Brigade, which runs south of Donetsk, stated as much.
On Monday, Russia's air defences intercepted four missiles over the Belgorod region bordering Ukraine, the region's governor said, adding that one person was hurt.
Vyacheslav Gladkov did not specify who was responsible for the attacks, but in the past, he has blamed Ukrainian soldiers on the opposite side of the border.
Donetsk, a Ukrainian city under Russian control, was shelled four times on Sunday, with residential areas and electricity lines being struck and Russian-installed officials blaming Ukraine.
Ukraine nearly never claims responsibility for assaults within Russia or on Ukrainian territory under Russian control.
In the meantime, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has requested that Germany expedite the delivery of ammunition and begin training Ukrainian pilots on Western fighter jets.
Kuleba made it plain that he did not anticipate Western allies to provide Ukraine with the aircraft it has requested shortly but that pilots should be prepared for when a decision is made.
A senior EU official stated that the European Union could soon provide 3.5 billion euros ($3.7 billion) to a fund for purchasing arms for Ukraine.