Ukrainian forces claim to have inflicted heavy losses on Russian forces and their Wagner allies trying to take the eastern city of Bakhmut. Photo by Oleg Petrasyuk/EPA-EFE
Jan. 31 (UPI) -- The eastern city of Bakhmut has become a focal point in the war in Ukraine following months of heavy fighting.
The Ukrainian military on Tuesday claimed to have inflicted heavy losses on Russian forces attempting to capture the city
"The enemy suffered huge losses in personnel during the day: 277 enemy troops were killed, 258 received wounds of various degrees. The fighting took place near Spirne, Chervona Hora, Paraskoviyivka, Bakhmut and Kilshchiyivka," Eastern Group of the Armed Forces spokesperson Serhiy Cherevatyi said on national television Tuesday.
The head of the Ukrainian military administration of Donetsk, Pavlov Kyrylenko, accused the Russian military of "leveling" Bakhmut.
"Russians are leveling Bakhmut to the ground, killing everyone they can reach. We are carefully documenting all war crimes. They will be held accountable for everything," Kyrylenko wrote on Telegram.
Ukrainian forces claim to have eliminated a Russian position on the outskirts of Bakhmut.
"The rifle unit of the Russian Federation set up an improvised dugout in the forest strip. Our fighters tracked down the hiding places of the enemy infantry and hit it with mortars," the Ukrainian border guards said on Telegram Tuesday.
The office of the prosecutor general of Ukraine reports that Russian shelling killed two people in Bakhmut, including a 12-year-old boy.
Wagner mercenary forces trying to take Bakhmut have been reinforced by paratroopers, according to a Ukraine military commander.
"What we see is that Wagner is almost completely destroyed. They have now been replaced by paratroopers, who also suffer losses almost every day, not only in manpower but also in armored vehicles," Svoboda battalion commander Volodymyr Nazarenko told Ukrainian national television Monday.
The head of the Wagner mercenary group has been feuding with the Russian Ministry of Defense, insisting his troops are primarily responsible for the Russian capture of the eastern city of Soledar.
The United States designated Wagner as a "transnational criminal organization" earlier this month and accused the mercenary group of obtaining weapons from North Korea.