Ukrainian officials say Russian forces have kept up their bombardments across the Donetsk region, with more than 200 strikes against the Bakhmut area alone in the past 24 hours — but they claim the Russians are losing hundreds of men a day across the front lines.
The eastern city of Bakhmut remains "the focus of the enemy's main attack," according to Serhii Cherevatyi, the spokesman for the Eastern Grouping of the armed forces.
Cherevatyi said it was difficult to tell whether the intensity of Russian attacks around Bakhmut was waning because of factors such as weather, the rotation of units or reserves being brought forward by the Russians.
However, he said Russian tactics have remained the same with small tactical groups "trying to deplete our defenses." He said soldiers from the Wagner mercenary group are near Bakhmut, with Russian troops providing reinforcements where necessary.
“We knock them out. In fact, there will be no more Wagner fighters in a little while if they continue the same dynamics," Cherevatyi said.
Cherevatyi drew a distinction between the battle for Bakhmut and fighting elsewhere. He said further north, Wagner was less in evidence around Lyman and Kupyansk, where regular Russian forces, supported by the Luhansk militia, had made more than 400 attacks over the past day.
“The main task now is to withstand, to deplete the enemy's forces, while units are being trained both in Ukraine and abroad, equipped with new defense equipment, and coordinated,” Cherevatyi said.
In and around the town of Avdiivka, in the Donetsk region, intense Russian bombardments and airstrikes continue against Ukrainian defenses.
"All the time we were in the city, there were explosions. We did not see a single building that was not damaged. Unfortunately, there are still civilians in Avdiivka. People live in basements," military spokesman Oleksiy Dmytrashkivskyi said.
But he said many of the civilians were unwilling to leave, especially the elderly, and there has been no electricity in the city since May last year.
Dmytrashkivskyi said the Russians were trying to bypass the town “and these attacks are constantly accompanied by shelling. Yesterday the enemy managed 26 attacks and suffered quite significant losses. More than 100 people were killed and more than 240 wounded,” he claimed. “During the day, they attack with the help of aircraft, artillery and manpower. They are suffering heavy losses in manpower and equipment.”