Volodimir Zelensky asked the Ukrainian Army to “find the strength” to defend the city of Bakhmut from the Russian siege

Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky urged the Army to continue resisting the Russian siege in Bakhmut

Volodimir Zelensky He said on Monday that he had asked his military commanders to “find the forces” necessary to defend the city of Bakhmut, the epicenter of the fighting against Russian troops in the east of the country.

“I have asked the General Staff to find the appropriate forces to help the boys in Bakhmut”the president said in a video, in which he stated that “no part of Ukraine can be left” in Russian hands.

An adviser to the Ukrainian presidency, Mikhailo Podoliak, told the news agency AFP that “there is a consensus among the military on the need to continue defending the city and [seguir] exhausting the enemy forces.

Podoliak specified that at the moment no decision has been made on a possible Ukrainian withdrawal from this city. But in case the Ukrainian troops decide to withdraw, Bakhmut’s defense will have been “a great strategic success”he assured. According to him, “Bakhmut’s defense achieved its goals”, by exhausting the Russian forces and give the Ukrainian army time to train “tens of thousands of soldiers, with which to prepare a counteroffensive.”

Earlier this Monday, the Ukrainian presidency said that the Army plans to “reinforce” its positions in Bakhmut, at a time of speculation about a possible withdrawal of Kiev forces from this town due to the increase in Russian attacks.

The commanders of the Ukrainian forces “spoke themselves in favor of continuing defensive operations and reinforcing our positions in Bakhmut” in a meeting with Zelensky on Monday, the presidency said in a statement.

Russia has been trying to conquer Bakhmut, a city in eastern Ukraine that had about 70,000 inhabitants before the Russian invasion a year ago, since mid-2022, in a battle that is leaving heavy losses on both sides.

Russian forces have been advancing around the city in recent days, threatening to encircle it, but the Ukrainians continue to offer a staunch defense.

Ukrainian soldiers fire a 2S5 Giatsint-S self-propelled howitzer at Russian troops on the outskirts of the city of Bakhmut (REUTERS / Anna Kudriavtseva)
Ukrainian soldiers fire a 2S5 Giatsint-S self-propelled howitzer at Russian troops on the outskirts of the city of Bakhmut (REUTERS / Anna Kudriavtseva) (STRINGER /)

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW), an American think tank, said on Sunday that it is “likely that Ukrainian forces are conducting a limited tactical withdrawal” at Bakhmut.

Although some analysts question the importance of this now-ravaged city in the conflict, the ISW believes that the defense of Bakhmut still makes “strategic sense” as it “continues to deplete Russian troops and equipment.”

“Ukrainian forces are unlikely to withdraw in one fell swoop from Bakhmut and may continue a gradual withdrawal while fighting, in order to exhaust Russian forces with urban fighting” where the defenders often have the advantage, the ISW said. .

Despite the strong Russian siege, Vladimir Putin’s troops are suffering heavy losses during the fighting in that eastern Ukrainian city.

“The losses of the Russians amount to 500 dead and wounded every day,” said the defense minister, Oleksi Reznikovto the Sunday weekly of the newspaper ‘Bild’, in an interview in which he described the Russian military as “cannon fodder” in the “meat mincing tactics” used by Moscow.

The casualty figures for the Russian offensive in Bakhmut have not been able to be independently verified. It has been confirmed, however, and according to the Kremlin itself, that Russian forces have redoubled their attacks against the city in recent days.

Yevgeny Prigozhinthe head of the Wagner mercenary group, the main Russian assault force in the fighting, admitted that kyiv’s troops will defend the besieged city “until the end”.

“They will fight for Artiomovsk (Russian name for Bakhmut) to the end, that’s self-evident,” Prigozhin was quoted as saying by his press service. He also added that Wagner’s fighters must also do their job to the end.

A Ukrainian service member digs a trench on the outskirts of the border town of Bakhmut (REUTERS/Oleksandr Ratushniak)
A member of the Ukrainian service digs a trench on the outskirts of the border town of Bakhmut (REUTERS/Oleksandr Ratushniak) (STRINGER/)

But for this, he assured, they need more help from the Russian military command.

“For the Ukrainian armed forces to unlock Artiomovsk, they first have to block the Wagners,” Prigozhin said, adding that he “knocks on all doors” to receive reinforcements and ammunition.

The head of the Wagner Group pointed out that if help arrives and everyone can do their job, it will be the Russians who block the Ukrainians and not the other way around. Otherwise, everything will go to hell, he warned.

His statements come after the commanders of the Ukrainian troops decided to continue the defensive operation in Bakhmut.

This opinion was expressed both by the commander of the Land Army of Ukraine, Oleksandr Syrskyias by the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Valery Zaluzhny.

(With information from AFP and EFE)

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