Ukraine, Chasiv Yar Moscow is closer to its first major victory in half a year after the bloodiest fighting of the war after Russian troops and mercenaries rained artillery on the last access routes to the besieged Ukrainian city of Bakhmut on Friday.
The commander of Russia’s Wagner private army claimed that the city was almost entirely surrounded and that only one road remained open for Ukrainian forces. The city was razed to the ground over the course of Russia’s seven-month onslaught.
Russian forces appeared to be trying to prevent Ukrainian forces from entering or leaving Bakhmut, as evidenced by heavy shelling of routes leading west from the city, as reported by Reuters. Russian tank fire destroyed a bridge in Khromove, the neighboring town.
Ukrainian soldiers were repairing damaged roads and sending more troops to the frontline, both of which indicated that the country was not yet prepared to surrender the city. As a defensive measure, Ukrainians were preparing new trenches to the west.
The Russian state news agency RIA broadcast a video purportedly showing Wagner fighters passing a damaged factory. A Ukrainian fighter claims the Ukrainian army is destroying buildings in the towns surrounding Bakhmut to prevent a Russian encirclement.
Ukrainian ground forces commander Oleksandr Syrskyi was in Bakhmut on Friday to meet with local commanders and discuss ways to improve the readiness of the frontline troops.
With a pre-war population of around 70,000, Bakhmut would be the first major prize for Russia’s costly winter offensive after the country mobilized hundreds of thousands of reservists last year. The Russians see it as a strategic move toward their ultimate goal of taking the industrial Donbas region.
Ukraine claims Bakhmut is not strategically important because of its salt and gypsum mines, but the city’s fall could have a significant impact on the war.
“PINCERS ARE CLOSING,” Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin said in a video Reuters traced to a rooftop in a village about 7 kilometers (4 miles) north of the city center.
There is “only one way out,” he said. Pincers are about to close.
To prevent further loss of life among his troops, he pleaded with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to issue a withdrawal order from Bakhmut. Three captured Ukrainians, an older man with a grey beard and two boys, were seen asking to be released so that they could return home.
Ukrainian drone unit commander “Madyar,” aka Robert Brovdi, said in a video shared on social media that his troops had been ordered to withdraw from the Bakhmut area immediately. The 110 days of fighting, he claimed, had been the longest of his life.
According to Ukrainian NV Radio, the situation is “critical,” and fighting is occurring “round the clock.” This is according to Volodymyr Nazarenko, deputy commander of the Ukrainian National Guard.
“When planning an assault on the city, they don’t care about their losses. Our mission in Bakhmut is to cause as much damage to the enemy as we can. Numerous lives are sacrificed by the enemy for every square meter of Ukrainian territory “What he had to say was.
We have far more Russians here than we do bullets to kill them all.
MORE US ARMS
Russia has been alarmed over the past few days at its own potential vulnerabilities after Moscow reported a number of drone attacks on targets deep within Russia, followed by what it said was an armed cross-border raid on Thursday.
Putin ordered stepped-up “anti-terrorism measures” on Friday from his Security Council, he said.
In Lviv, Zelenskiy paid a visit to the military hospital where injured soldiers were being treated. One of them shook the president’s hand from bed, explaining that he was too sick to get out of bed. Just ignore him, Zelenskiy said. Someday soon, your time will come to shine.
In an evening video address, Zelenskiy thanked the troops for “firmly and bravely” defending Bakhmut, but he provided no details about the fighting.
Defense analyst Oleh Zhdanov predicted that commanders would decide to pull out of Bakhmut soon and cited unofficial reports that some units were already pulling out.
“There is a threat of being encircled,” he warned in a YouTube commentary published late on Friday.
At a press conference in Washington, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced $400 million in additional military aid for Ukraine. This aid will be provided in the form of ammunition and other support.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, the United States has given the country close to $32 billion in aid.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden thanked visiting German Chancellor Olaf Scholz for his “profound” support of Ukraine, and Scholz said that it was crucial to send the message that Germany would continue supporting Ukraine “for as long as it takes and as long as it is necessary.”
Leopard tanks, which were promised in January and will presumably form the backbone of Ukraine’s new armored force, are manufactured in Germany.
Scholz’s cautious public stance towards arming Ukraine has been criticized by some Western allies, despite his having oversaw a major policy shift from a country that was Russia’s biggest energy customer on the eve of the war.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has taken a more active role in arming Ukraine, according to Oleksii Makeiev, Ukraine’s ambassador in Berlin.
Moscow claims to have annexed nearly a fifth of Ukraine and now blames pro-Western Kyiv for threatening national security. The Ukrainian government and its allies have claimed that the invasion was an act of aggression.
Friday, after Blinken said Moscow cannot be allowed to wage war in Ukraine with impunity, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov pointed to U.S. military interventions around the globe and accused the United States of hypocrisy. While in India for a meeting of the G20 foreign ministers, the two men exchanged brief pleasantries.