Russia fights to encircle Ukrainian defenders in Bakhmut

Ukrainian service members are seen next an infantry fighting vehicle near the frontline town of Bakhmut, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Donetsk region, Ukraine February 25, 2023. REUTERS/Yan Dobronosov

Russian soldiers accelerated their attack in eastern Ukraine as they attempted to encircle the small mining city of Bakhmut, the epicentre of the worst fighting on battlefields drenched with rain and an early spring thaw.

Russia is attempting to cut the Ukrainian defenders' supply routes into the city to force them to submit or retreat. This would be Moscow's first significant victory in almost half a year and pave the path for conquering the other metropolitan centres in the Donetsk area.

"The enemy is continually destroying everything that could be utilized to fortify and defend our positions. Our soldiers protecting the vicinity of Bakhmut are genuine heroes "Monday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy stated.

According to Ukraine's army staff, Russia has bolstered its forces in the Bakhmut region and is shelling nearby communities.

Because unexpectedly milder weather thawed the frozen ground, Ukrainian forces in the Donetsk region dug in muddy trenches.

"As you can see, spring means mud, so both parties maintain their positions. Thus, it is difficult to proceed, "Mykola, the 59-year-old commander of a Ukrainian frontline rocket launcher battery, observed a tablet screen for firing coordinates.

The Rasputin, also known as the spring thaw, has a history of thwarting the plans of armies attempting to invade Ukraine and western Russia by transforming highways into rivers and fields into impenetrable bogs.

Reuters observed numerous military trucks mired in mud. Volodymyr, a 25-year-old platoon leader, stated in a trench dug in a zigzag pattern that his men were prepared to operate in any weather.

When given a target, we are obligated to destroy it.

With the addition of hundreds of thousands of conscripts late last year, Russia has increased its offensive along the eastern front.

According to Western nations, numerous Russian assaults against Bakhmut have failed at a tremendous cost.

"Vicious battles are occurring there. The command is making every effort to prevent the enemy from moving into our area, "Serhiy Cherevatyi, spokesman for the eastern military power of Ukraine, stated on Ukrainian television.

Moscow asserted that it had destroyed a Ukrainian ammo store in Bakhmut and fired down U.S.-made rockets and Ukrainian drones.

Reuters was unable to confirm the battlefield reports.

A Ukrainian military expert, Oleh Zhdanov reported that Russian forces had formed a wedge between Yadhidne and Berkhivka on the northern approaches to Bakhmut to sever the road west to Chasiv Yar.

"Only the southern portion of Bakhmut can be classified as under Ukrainian control. In all other districts, the situation is uncertain,' he stated in a televised commentary, adding, 'it is impossible to pinpoint the front line."

Yellen in Kyiv

After meeting with Zelenskiy and other authorities, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen became the latest top Western official to visit the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, promising help and additional measures to isolate Russia.

President Joe Biden travelled there last week to commemorate the first anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Monday, Yellen, flanked by sandbags in the Cabinet ministers' office, informed Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, "America will stand with Ukraine as long as it takes,"

Yellen announced the transfer of the first $1.25 billion of the latest $9.9 billion tranche of economic and budget aid from the United States and visited a school where teacher salaries are reimbursed by U.S. budgetary assistance.

She also supported completing a fully funded program with the International Monetary Fund for Ukraine by the end of March.

Ukraine's armed forces have primarily focused on maintaining defensive positions in recent weeks. Still, they are anticipated to launch a counteroffensive later this year with the aid of Western-donated armaments.

Despite his repeated requests, his Western friends have refused to give Zelenskiy F-16 fighter jets.

Zelenskiy stated in his nightly radio broadcast, "Our pilots and anti-aircraft units, and other air force experts are doing a great job," "But we will be able to completely protect our skies when the aviation taboo is fully lifted in relations with our partners."

On the 24th of February, both sides attempted to demonstrate their resolve for a second year of combat.

Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, gave a prominent address in which he abandoned the last surviving nuclear arms control deal with the United States. Still, he did not propose any substantial steps to alter the direction of the war.

He was overshadowed by Biden, who travelled to Kyiv and delivered a meaningful address in Warsaw.

Ukraine's outnumbered forces early in the war thwarted Russia's attempt to seize the capital and eventually reclaimed significant territory. Russia occupies about one-fifth of the territory it claims to have annexed in Ukraine.

Publish : 2023-02-28 11:20:00

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