Ukraine: the city of Bakhmout under relentless Russian assault | War in Ukraine
The incessant shelling of Bakhmout and its surroundings has left the region a field of ruins.
The Ukrainian army on Tuesday reported an “extremely tense” situation around Bakhmout, at the epicenter of the fighting in eastern Ukraine, where Russian troops are trying to surround this city.
In Russia, the army has reportedly shot down several Ukrainian drones that targeted civilian infrastructure, without causing any damage. For the first time, one of them crashed in the capital region, Moscow.
General Secretary of the NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, told him that the member countries of the Alliance agreed that Ukraine should become a member, as it claims, but that this objective would be achieved in the long term .
Despite a strategic importance disputed by experts, Bakhmout has become a symbol of the struggle for control of the industrial region of Donbass. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who visited in December, vowed to defend the fortress city for as long as possible.
The situation around Bakhmout is extremely tense, the commander of the ground forces of Ukraine, Oleksandre Syrsky, noted on Tuesday, quoted by the official press center of the army.
Russian forces are relentlessly trying to break through the Ukrainian defense lines around the strategic city of Bakhmout.
According to him, the Russian paramilitary group Wagner, in the front line in this battle, is trying to break through the defense of our troops and surround the city.
Wagner's boss, Evguéni Prigojine, has claimed in turn in recent weeks the capture of localities around Bakhmout. Soledar fell in January, then Krasna Gora in February, and Saturday Lagidné, located at the gates of the city.
As a result of this slow Russian push, three of the four roads allowing the Ukrainians to #x27;supplies to Bakhmout have been cut off, leaving only the one leading west to Chassiv Iar, south of which the Russians are also trying to advance.
Bakhmout, which had a pre-war population of 70,000, was largely destroyed by the fighting which caused heavy casualties on both sides. Some 5,000 civilians, including about 140 children, remain there despite the danger, according to authorities.
Mr. Zelensky had acknowledged on Monday evening that the situation around Bakhmout was becoming increasingly complicated for Ukrainian soldiers, who described scenes reminiscent of those of the First World War.
Ukrainian soldiers interviewed by AFP in Bakhmout on Monday said they were maintaining morale.
We cannot know the full operational situation, but we are here, we did not run away, said a 44-year-old soldier whose nom de guerre is Kai.
Not only Bakhmut, but Crimea and everything else: we'll get it all back,” Died, 45, said, puffing on a cigarette.
Fox, 40, is more pessimistic: I understand what country we're fighting against […] They have smart people there, people who know how to fight. They think, they learn, the same way we do.
I think Bakhmout will probably fall, he said, referring to a lack of ammunition and weapons. squad on the Ukrainian side.
Russia, for its part, said on Tuesday that a Ukrainian drone had crashed about 100 kilometers from Moscow, not far from a gas compressor station. Three others were shot down elsewhere in the country, without causing any damage.
Several incidents involving drones have occurred in recent months on Russian territory, sometimes very far from the front in Ukraine, but this is the first time that the presence of a drone has been reported near the capital.
These clashes are unfolding after the war in Ukraine entered its second year last week.
On the diplomatic front, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, an ally of Moscow who ;is so far denied direct engagement in the conflict other than letting Russian forces operate from its territory, arrived in Beijing on Tuesday.
La China, Moscow's partner on the international scene, last week proposed a 12-point document in which it urges Russians and Ukrainians to dialogue, but it also insists on respect for territorial integrity and opposes to any recourse to nuclear weapons.
While Westerners generally greeted this Chinese diplomatic intervention with skepticism – French President Emmanuel Macron announced this weekend travel to Beijing in April – President Zelensky said he is ready to work go with Beijing and announced his intention to also meet his counterpart Xi Jinping.