Russian military and Wagner Group forces have recently gained footholds west of the Bakhmutka River in the town of Bakhmut, according to a British Defense Ministry intelligence update.
The river, the ministry said, had recently marked the front line of the battle in the fighting in the Donbas town of Bakhmut. Ukrainian forces continue to defend the western portion of the town, the report said.
Meanwhile, the report said, Russia is conducting some of its lowest rates of local offensive fighting since January.
“This is most likely because Russian forces have temporarily depleted their combat power to such an extent that even local offensive actions are not currently sustainable,” it said.
The Russians will likely increase their “offensive potential” once personnel and munitions stocks are replenished. Until then, the ministry said, Russian commanders “will likely be forced to choose between carrying out offensive operations and conducting a credible defense of the full line.”
China is hoping there will be a peaceful solution to the conflict in Ukraine and is urging Russia and Ukraine to come to the table for peace talks, China’s foreign minister told his Ukrainian counterpart in a telephone conversation Thursday.
China’s foreign ministry said in a statement that Qin Gang told Dmytro Kuleba that China “has committed itself to promoting peace and advancing negotiations and calls on the international community to create conditions for peace talks.”
Qin also said “China hopes that all parties will remain calm, rational and restrained,” according to the statement, as Russian’s invasion of Ukraine has recently passed its one-year anniversary.