Sunday, March 26, 2023

Status of Bakhmut remains unclear as Kyiv counters Russian claims

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Victory over the battle for Bakhmut remains unclear as Ukraine continues to counter Russian claims of taking more territory in the area.

The town in the Donetsk region has become a symbol of Russia’s war of attrition, as its ongoing offensive has been met with fierce Ukrainian resistance.

Although Moscow has captured much of the neighbouring Luhansk region, that together with Donetsk forms the Donbas, the Donestk region remains split between Ukrainian and Russian control. Other nearby towns have also seen similar standoffs, like Vuhledar and Marinka.

Footage released by Russian news agency Ria Novosti shows how the longest battle of the Russia-Ukraine war has turned Bahkmut into a ghost town.

Many of the 80,000 pre-war population have evacuated. The humanitarian situation is extremely precarious – with around 5,000 people unable to evacuate. Those who decide to stay however do so to defend their ruins. In doing so, Ukrainian forces are slowing down the costly Russian efforts to control the industrial Donbas region.

A soldier who spoke to the Associated Press, who went by the name “Expert”, said the pulverised city “has become a stronghold” for Ukraine.

“See what they have done to it?” he said of Russian forces that have been pounding Bakhmut for months, slowly inching forward with heavy casualties to capture a prize that, if it falls, might allow Moscow to argue that the invasion is making progress.

“And this is not the only city,” the soldier, who fights in a Ukrainian rapid response unit, added. “I wish they would break their teeth trying to chew it.”

Zelenskyy meets Saudi Arabian officials

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy welcomed Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud to Kyiv. It was the first-ever official visit to Ukraine by a Saudi official.

Minister Al Saud brought with him a pledge of €379.5 million in humanitarian aid.

Zelenskyy greeted the Saudi official in the Ukrainian capital by saying “You are very welcome, and I’m happy that today we host your country.”



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