Ukraine claims it has stabilized the battle for Bakhmut.

After the longest combat of the Russian invasion, which took place near the destroyed city of Bakhmut, the Ukrainian military reported that they were “managing to stabilize” the situation.

After months of intense warfare between Russian and Ukrainian forces, Bakhmut, which was formerly home to an estimated 70,000 inhabitants, is now nearly devoid of citizens.

The situation on the front line is “the toughest in the Bakhmuth direction,” declared the head of the Ukrainian armed forces, Valery Zaluzhny, after a phone call with the British chief of the Defense Staff, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin.

“Thanks to the enormous efforts of the Defense Forces, we are managing to stabilize the situation,” Zaluzhny said on Facebook.

Russian forces have been making gradual advances around the city, whose symbolic importance outweighed any military significance as the battle dragged on.

According to the latest intelligence update from the British Ministry of Defense on Saturday, the Russian assault on Bakhmut “has largely stalled.”

This is “probably mainly owing to the high attrition of the Russian forces,” according to the British statement, which also noted that “serious fatalities” had been sustained by the Ukrainian side.

On Thursday, Ukrainian military high command Oleksandr Syrsky signaled that a counterattack could soon be launched against “exhausted” Russian forces near Bakhmut.

“The aggressor has not given up hope of taking Bakhmut at all costs despite losses in manpower and equipment,” Syrsky said.

“Sparing nothing, they are losing a significant force and running out,” he added, referring to the successful Ukrainian counteroffensives last year, saying: “Very soon, we will seize this opportunity as we did near Kyiv, Kharkiv, Balakliya, and Kupiansk.”

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, who made the announcement that he had visited the Ukrainian military along the front line in Bakhmut on Wednesday, preceded Syrsky’s comments by a day.

But President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said a counteroffensive could not happen now because his country lacks weapons, equipment, and ammunition.

“We can’t start yet,” Zelenskyy said. He said that “there are no brave soldiers” who can be sent to the front lines without tanks and artillery.

On Monday, Yevgeny Prigozhin, leader of the Russian mercenary group Wagner, claimed that his forces held sway over roughly 70% of the city.

Likewise, Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta raised worry to her Chinese counterpart about China providing Russia with lethal aid to bolster Moscow in its conflict against Ukraine.

His press office detailed Mahuta’s cautious remarks in Beijing on Saturday, days after Chinese President Xi Jinping wrapped up his trip to Moscow, a warm meeting in which Xi and Russian President Vladimir Putin praised each other, and they spoke of a deep friendship.

While Mahuta’s four-day visit to Beijing began on Wednesday and marked the first such visit by a New Zealand foreign minister since 2018, it came at an inopportune time, given that Xi had just visited Moscow to give Putin a diplomatic push after the International Criminal Court announced its intention to put him on trial for alleged war crimes.

Regarding the war in Ukraine, Mahuta reiterated to his counterpart Qin Gang his government’s condemnation of the “illegal invasion” of Moscow.