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Catastrophic losses suffered during fierce fighting centred on the town of have been documented in the diary of a captured Russian military officer, Ukrainian officials have claimed. Fierce fighting in eastern Ukraine continued today, with a Russian missile striking an apartment building, killing at least one person and wounding nine more.

Ukraine’s Defence Ministry today tweeted a picture of the smudged diary, supposedly seized from the officer earlier this month, accompanied by a translation suggesting Moscow was flinging troops into the fray on a daily basis.

It commented: “Diary of a russian officer captured near Vuhledar.

“March 1: 100 soldiers undertook an assault; 16 remained.

“March 3: out of 116 soldiers 23 remained.

“March 4: out of 103 soldiers 15 remained.

“March 5: out of 115 soldiers 3 remained.”

Russian forces have made progress in their campaign to capture the nearby city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, but their assault will be difficult to sustain without more significant personnel losses, the UK’s Ministry of Defence said on Saturday.

The MoD said paramilitary units from the Kremlin-controlled Wagner Group have seized most of eastern Bakhmut, with a river flowing through the city now marking the front line of the fighting.

The mining city is located in Donetsk province, one of four regions of Ukraine that Russian President Vladimir Putin illegally annexed last year. Russia‘s military opened the campaign to take control of Bakhmut in August, and both sides have experienced staggering casualties.

Ukrainian troops and supply lines remain vulnerable to “continued Russian attempts to outflank the defenders from the north and south” as the Wagner Group’s forces try to close in on them in a pincer movement, the MoD said.

However, the ministry added, it will be “highly challenging” for Wagner’s soldiers to push ahead because Ukraine has destroyed key bridges over the river, while Ukrainian sniper fire from fortified buildings further west has made the thin strip of open ground in the city’s centre “a killing zone.”

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After today’s Russian military strike, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky posted a video showing gaping holes in the facade of the low-rise building that bore the brunt of the strike.

The Ukrainian general prosecutor’s office and regional Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko also reported on the attack, posting photos of the building with mounds of rubble in front of it.

The impact damaged nine apartment blocks, a kindergarten, a local bank branch and two cars, Kyrylenko said.

The war has brought heavy civilian casualties. Tuesday’s victims were among at least seven civilians killed and 30 wounded in 24 hours, Ukraine authorities said.

They included a 55-year-old woman killed when a Russian shell hit her car Tuesday in a border town in northeastern Ukraine.

Speaking on Ukrainian television, Mr Kryylenko said: “Russian troops are striking residential buildings, schools and hospitals, leaving cities on fire and in ruins.

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“The Russians mark each metre of their advance in the region not only with their own blood, but also with the lost lives of civilians.”

Kramatorsk houses the local Ukrainian army headquarters. Ukrainian authorities say it has been regularly targeted by Russian shelling and other attacks in the past.

A missile strike on the city’s train station last April, which Kyiv and much of the international community blamed on Moscow, killed dozens of people and wounded more than 100.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, speaking today during a meeting with workers at a helicopter factory in southern Siberia, once again cast the conflict in Ukraine as an existential one for Russia, charging that unlike the West – which, he said, is seeking to advance its geopolitical clout – it’s fighting for its existence as a state.

He said: “For us, it’s not a geopolitical task, it’s the task of survival of Russian statehood and the creation of conditions for the future development of our country.”