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Ukraine vows not to give up on Bakhmut amid continued Russian attacks



Ukraine vows not to give up on Bakhmut amid continued Russian attacks

Ukrainian general said Bakhmut and surrounding areas were under “sustained attacks”


President Volodymyr Zelensky said Ukraine’s top military commanders have vowed to continue defending the besieged city of Bakhmut, where Russia is hoping to make its first major war advantage in more than half a year, and to strengthen its defenses. will strengthen

Amid some of the bloodiest fighting of the more than a year-long invasion, Moscow says capturing the city would be a step towards its key objective of seizing the full territory of the Donbass region surrounding it.

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported late on Monday that the city and surrounding areas were under “continuous attacks” as “the enemy does not keep track of losses.”

Following Russian gains in recent weeks, Ukrainian troops are consolidating positions west of Bakhmut in preparation for a possible retreat, at the culmination of a winter offensive.

However, late Monday, Zelensky said that at a meeting of top military officials he asked the commander of the regional grouping and the commander in chief of Ukraine how they wanted to proceed.

“The two generals responded not to retreat but to strengthen (our defences),” he said in his nightly address.

“I asked the commander in chief to find suitable forces to help our people in Bakhmut.”

The intense fighting depleted artillery reserves on both sides, with thousands of shells being fired daily on the eastern and southern fronts. Kiev’s European allies are working on a deal to buy more ammunition for the fight.

The head of Russia’s Wagner mercenary force, which is leading the Bakhmut assault, said on Monday they needed the regular army to supply more ammunition, reinforcements and covering support if they were to win the battle.

Wagner founder Yevgeny Prigozhin’s appeal came amid signs of a deepening rift between him and the Russian Defense Ministry, which he has bitterly criticized for months and accused of deliberately starving its men of ammunition, an accusation it rejected.

“I am knocking on all doors and sounding the alarm about the need for ammunition and reinforcements, as well as the need to cover our flanks,” he said in a statement issued by his press service.

“If everyone is coordinated without ambition, screw-ups and tantrums, and carries out this work, we will stop the Armed Forces of Ukraine. If not, everyone will be screwed.”

There was no immediate reaction from the Russian Defense Ministry.

Separately, Reuters reported that Kiev has broadened a request from the United States to include a weapon for controversial cluster bombs, which it plans to use to drop anti-armor bombs on Russian forces from drones, according to two US lawmakers. Wants to cannibalize him.

A National Security Council spokesman said that while Ukraine and the White House “coordinate closely” on military assistance, it did not have a “new capability to announce”.

US says Bakhmut is more symbolic than strategic

After losing ground during the second half of 2022, Russia launched a winter offensive of intense trench warfare, using hundreds of thousands of reservists called up late last year.

The Russian offensive made no notable gains, failing to seize ground in Luhansk Province further north and suffering heavy losses, particularly around Wuhldar in the south.

Ukraine has focused mainly on defense for the past three months, trying to inflict high casualties while preparing for a counter-offensive when new weapons arrive and muddy ground dries up.

Speaking to reporters in the Middle East on Monday, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said he would not predict when or if Ukrainian troops might leave Bakhmut, but if it does fall it will not mean the Russians have abandoned it. The tide has turned. fight”.

“I think it has more of a symbolic value than strategic and operational value,” Austin said.

Kiev says Russia’s losses in an attempt to capture the already-rubbled city could determine the future course of the war by eroding fighting power ahead of a decisive battle later this year.

Russia refers to the campaign as a “special military operation”, but has swiftly dismissed the initial condemnation of the “Nazis” in Ukraine for describing it as a fight against a “collective West” endangers existence.

Ukraine and the West describe Russia’s actions as an unprovoked war of aggression aimed at expanding territory.

On Monday, Russia’s FSB security service said it had foiled a Ukraine-backed car bomb attack against a prominent nationalist businessman who has been a cheerleader for Moscow’s war. There was no immediate comment from Ukraine.

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

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