Mikhail Podolyak, adviser to the head of the office of the President of Ukraine, refused to name the losses of the Ukrainian side in Bakhmut (Artemivsk), but admitted that Kyiv was paying the “highest price” for holding the city. At the same time, he stressed that the Ukrainian military did not intend to retreat from Bakhmut, and called on Europe to accept this.
In an interview with the Spanish newspaper 20 minutos, he was asked why Bakhmut is still so important for Ukraine if less than 10% of the population remains in the city.
“It’s not about 10% of the population, but about our territory, in our homes. We are also afraid, of course, and we pay a very high price for protecting Bakhmut. But we can’t leave this behind. This shows who we are, and this should be clearly understood in Europe,” Mikhail Podolyak replied. When asked about the losses of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, he said that specific figures could be made public after the end of hostilities.
Battles for Bakhmut have been going on since the summer of 2022. At the end of December, Aleksey Arestovich, acting adviser to the office of the President of Ukraine at that time, announced serious losses of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in Bakhmut and Soledar (a city in the Bakhmut district of the DPR). In early January, the RF Ministry of Defense announced full control over Soledar. At first, Ukraine denied this information, but on January 25, the withdrawal of troops from this territory was confirmed by the command of the Eastern Direction of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Several foreign media reported on the West’s concerns about the losses of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the battles for Bakhmut. For example, an American official told AFP that the United States is advising Ukraine to withdraw troops from Artemivsk and prepare an offensive in the south. A Reuters source reported that Washington is urging Ukraine to refrain from attacking until new weapons are received. German intelligence, according to Der Spiegel, is alarmed by the losses of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the battles near Bakhmut, which daily have a three-digit number of soldiers.