Photos: Ukrainian forces defending Bakhmut as civilians flee | Russia-Ukraine war News

Pressure is mounting on Ukrainian troops holding out in the eastern city of Bakhmut.

The Ukrainian army is trying to help civilians flee the city, which Russian forces have spent months trying to capture.

A woman was reportedly killed while two men were severely wounded on Saturday as they were attempting to flee over a makeshift bridge.

Western analysts say the Ukrainian military may be mulling a controlled pullout from the city. UK military intelligence officials and a Washington-based think tank report that Ukraine has moved to destroy strategic bridges near the city.

A Russian victory in Bakhmut, with a pre-war population of about 70,000, would give it the first major prize in a costly winter offensive after it called up hundreds of thousands of reservists last year.

Russia says it would be a stepping stone to completing the capture of the Donbas industrial region, one of Moscow’s most important objectives.

Before the war, Bakhmut was known for salt and gypsum mines. Ukraine says the city has little strategic value, and the vast casualties Russia has suffered trying to take Bakhmut could shape the course of the conflict.

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