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Capture of Ukraine’s Bakhmut key to “further offensive” in war: Russia



Capture of Ukraine's Bakhmut key to 'forward offensive' in war: Russia

The Battle of Bakhmut is now the bloodiest conflict of Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine. (file_


Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Tuesday that the capture of the eastern Ukrainian town of Bakhmut was key to launching another offensive in the wider region.

“The city is an important defensive center for Ukrainian troops in Donbass,” Mr Shoigu said of the country’s industrial east.

“Capturing it will allow further offensive operations into the defense lines of the Ukrainian Armed Forces,” he told a televised meeting of military officials.

The Battle of Bakhmut is now the longest-running and bloodiest battle in Russia’s year-long military intervention in Ukraine, and both sides have doubled down on fighting for control of it.

Bakhmut, an industrial town once known for its sparkling wine production and salt mines, had a pre-war population of around 80,000 people.

But Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vereshchuk told regional media on Tuesday that there were now fewer than 4,000 civilians left.

“As far as we know, about 38 children live in Bakhmut today,” Ms. Vereshchuk said.

Both Moscow and Kiev said on Tuesday that the fighting was taking a heavy toll on the military personnel of the opposing sides.

The Ukrainian military said Moscow’s forces were launching attacks on Bakhmut and its outskirts “despite significant losses”.

Meanwhile Mr Shoigu said there had been a “significant increase in losses” among Ukrainian forces during the recent fighting for Bakhmut.

Neither side has published an official toll from fighting in the Donetsk region, which Moscow claimed to have annexed to Russia last year.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced this week that he has instructed the military to find ways to strengthen Bakhmut’s defenses.

Analysts say Bakhmut has little strategic importance in the wider fighting, despite the massive amount of resources expended by both sides in the fighting.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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