SUBSCRIBER+EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW — The battle for Bakhmut, where Russian paramilitaries have been leading an eight-month effort to take the symbolically significant Ukrainian city, was widely expected to be at least a boost for beleaguered Russian morale, if not a stepping-stone for eastern Ukraine. But this week, it was Ukrainian forces who were reportedly advancing with their first major battlefield gains in the struggle to capture what was once a 17th century fort town.
“The advance of our troops along the Bakhmut direction is the first success of offensive actions in the defense of Bakhmut,” Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi, Ukrainian Commander of Ground Forces, said Monday, in his country’s first major operation since November.
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