Losses on both sides have mounted as heavy fighting raged on Monday for control of the Bakhmut center in eastern Ukraine, according to Russian and Ukrainian forces.

Ukraine said the Russian Wagner mercenary group, which claims to be leading Moscow’s attack on the industrial city, is moving forward.

The city, which for several months was the epicenter of the fighting, which made it the longest and bloodiest battle of the Muscovite invasion,

“Wagner assault units are advancing from several directions, trying to break through the defenses of our troops and reach the city center,” the Ukrainian military said at a morning briefing.

“In fierce battles, our defenders inflict significant losses on the enemy,” the message says.

Analysts disagree on Bakhmut’s strategic importance as a spoils of war, but the city has acquired an important political status and both sides are investing significant resources in the fight.

The head of Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin, also acknowledged that his forces were met with determined resistance in an attempt to wrest control of the city center.

“The situation in Bakhmut is complicated, very complicated. The enemy is fighting for every meter,” Prigozhin wrote in a post on the social network.

“The closer we are to the city center, the more difficult the battles become and the more artillery … Ukrainians throw endless reserves (into battle),” Prigozhin said.

Ukraine has said its strategy for defending Bakhmut is to deprive Russia of its ability to launch any further offensive in the coming months and buy itself time to prepare for an attempt to retake the territory.

“Surge” in demand for weapons

Kyiv has warned that the fall of the city will open a clear path for Russian forces deep into the Donetsk region, which the Kremlin claims was annexed to Russia last year.

Russia has reported painstaking gains around Bakhmut in recent weeks, making progress encircling the city, but it has made no significant territorial gains in months.

Capturing the city will provide the Kremlin with a military victory that it can sell to its domestic audience.

NATO warned last week that Bakhmut could fall within days, and Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky vowed to keep holding the city “for as long as possible.”

The more than a year old Russian invasion of Ukraine has seen arms imports to Europe nearly double in 2022, thanks to massive shipments to Kiev, which has become the world’s third-largest weapons destination, researchers said on Monday.

“The invasion did cause a significant surge in European arms demand, which will have a further effect and will most likely lead to an increase in arms imports by European states,” said Pieter Wezeman, senior fellow at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. SIPRI), told AFP.

The Russian attack had a “devastating” effect on children in institutions: thousands of children were transferred to the occupied territories or to Russia, Human Rights Watch said Monday.

“This brutal war has shown the need to end the dangers that institutionalized children face,” said Bill Van Esveld, deputy director of children’s rights at the New York-based organization.

The report states that at least several thousand children have been relocated to Russia or the occupied territories.

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Eddie Hudson is an Entertainment News Reporter and Fashion Stylist. Graduated with a degree in Television Production from Howard University. He is an award-winning entertainment news reporter at 24PalNews and credits his upbringing and passion for helping others as the foundation for his success.

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