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Ukraine Clings to Bakhmut as Russians Advance

Situation in Bakhmut is assessed as "critical," says Oleh Zhdanov, a military analyst

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Sadaf Hasan
Sadaf Hasan
Aspiring reporter covering trending topics

UKRAINE: Early on Thursday, Ukrainian troops hung onto their positions in the destroyed eastern city of Bakhmut under persistent attack from Russian forces looking to score their first major victory for more than six months.

Russia says that if they take Bakhmut, they will be able to control the rest of the strategically important industrial region of Donbas that borders Russia. This was one of the main reasons they invaded on February 24, 2014, in the first place.

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Ukraine says that Bakhmut doesn’t have much strategic importance, but it has put up a brave fight. Not everyone in Ukraine believes that Bakhmut’s defence can continue forever.

“I believe that sooner or later we will probably have to leave Bakhmut. There is no sense in holding it at any cost… “, said Serhiy Rakhmanin, a Ukrainian lawmaker, on Ukrainian NV radio on Wednesday night.

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“But for now, Bakhmut will be defended with several goals in mind. The first is to cause as many losses as possible to the Russians and force them to use their weapons and resources,” he said.

No line of defence ought to be allowed to fail, Rakhmanin stated, and “there are two ways to approach this: an organised retreat or simple flight. And we cannot allow the flight to take place under any circumstances.”

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Around seven months ago, the battle for Bakhmut started, but in recent weeks, Russian advances have forced them back, leaving defenders battling on three sides with their only escape route to the west. Thousands of civilians still live in the ruined metropolis, which had a pre-war population of about 70,000.

A military analyst named Oleh Zhdanov called the situation “critical” and warned that our garrison in Bakhmut could be surrounded.

Zhdanov gave a very clear picture of how the Russians tried to force Ukrainian forces on the east bank of the Bakhmutka River to leave their positions.

“They are applying what can be described as colossal pressure with wave upon wave of attacks. They bring in reinforcements in trucks and take away their wounded aboard the same trucks. This process is constant, like a conveyor belt, around the clock,” he said.

The General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said on Wednesday that Russian forces are trying to move towards Bakhmut “without stopping. And President Zelenskiy said that his forces” are “keeping each sector of the front under control.”

A statement from the military says that Russian forces were getting ready to attack again in the Kherson area and the central Zaporizhzhia region. It said that more than 40 towns and villages, including Kherson, the regional capital, and other cities on the west bank of the Dnipro River that Russian troops had left in November, had been shelled.

G20 foreign ministers’ meeting 

The war was in the spotlight on the eve of a G20 meeting of foreign ministers in New Delhi, with the chief of EU foreign policy stating that the success of the EU would be determined by what it could do to help end the battle.

For both Ukrainians and Russians, traditionally, March 1 marks the start of spring. The season of sucking black mud, known in military history as “bezdorizhzhia” in Ukrainian and “rasputitsa” in Russian, has begun as the front’s frozen ground has already begun to thaw.

In a nightly video message, Zelenskiy said, after attending a meeting related to energy issues, “Winter is over. It was a very difficult one, and every Ukrainian, without exaggeration, felt the difficulties.”

“But we managed to provide Ukraine with energy and heat. The threat to the energy system remains. And work goes on to ensure the energy system keeps functioning,” added Zelenskiy.

Russia often attacked power plants with missile waves, which Ukraine said was part of a plan to make people feel bad about themselves.

Russia’s conflict, as Ukraine and its Western allies describe it, was unprovoked and intended to subjugate its European-leaning neighbour, who like Russia was a member of the Moscow-dominated Soviet Union until its dissolution in 1991.

Russia says that the West started its “special military operation” to get rid of security threats and that arming the Kyiv government has made the situation worse.

On Wednesday, Russia’s top lawmaker said that he was going to propose changes to a law about censorship during wartime. These changes would raise the maximum sentence for badmouthing the military from five to fifteen years in prison and cover the Wagner mercenary force.

Russia enacted sweeping censorship legislation shortly after sending tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine about a year ago.

A defence ministry journal from Russia said Moscow is creating a new kind of military plan utilising nuclear weapons to defend against potential American aggression, as reported by the RIA news agency on Thursday.

Also Read: Situation in Ukraine’s Bakhmut Is Worsening, says President Zelenskiy

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