Kiev vows to fight in Bakhmut, defying hopes of withdrawal
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Monday that he had spoken to his army commanders about the situation in Bakhmut and said he would insist that the city be defended rather than abandoned.
Zelensky said in his nightly address that he had asked the Commander of the Ground Forces of Ukraine, General Oleksandr Syrsky, and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Valery Zaluzny, about their views on continuing the defense of Bakhmut , which stated that the options were either “withdrawal” or a continuation of the defense and fortification of the city.”
The President said “Both generals answered: do not withdraw and strengthen. And this opinion was unanimously supported by the staff. There was no other opinion. I asked the Commander-in-Chief to help the people in Bakhmut. asked to find suitable forces for the
“There is no part of Ukraine that one can say can be abandoned,” Zelensky said.
Ukrainian soldiers load a 152mm shell into an Msta-B howitzer to fire towards Russian positions near the front-line town of Bakhmut, March 2, 2023.
Dimitar Dilkoff | AFP | Getty Images
Ukraine is keen to show its allies it can fight in Ukraine, although some analysis and reports from Bakhmut suggest some sort of comeback is underway. And there are indications that its international partners will not view a strategic withdrawal from the city in a bad light in any case. On Monday, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said that Bakhmut has more symbolic importance than strategic and operational value.
However, defense analysts have noted that Ukraine continuing to fight in Bakhmut has another added advantage, adding that a significant number of Russian fighters have been described as “meat grinders” (mercenaries of Russia). by the head of the forces of).
Zelensky said on Monday that defending Bakhmut meant further destruction of Russia’s offensive forces.
“We are destroying the occupier everywhere – wherever it results for Ukraine. Bakhmut has been bent during the whole fight for Donbass and is one of the biggest results during this war.”
– Holly Elliot
China’s Foreign Minister says that the country’s Russia relations are not a threat to any country
China’s new Foreign Minister Qin Gang said country’s relations with Russia are not a threat to any country and are not subject to interference by any third country.
In his first press conference after becoming foreign minister, Qin said, “The more unstable the world becomes, the more important it is for China and Russia to continue to advance relations.”
He said “major countries” needed to consider whether they were following “specific political blocs” or “promoting friendship”.
Qin’s remarks came after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken last week warned China against supporting the Russian war effort.
“China can’t have it both ways when it comes to Russian aggression in Ukraine. It can’t push peace offers on the one hand, while actually fanning the flames that Russia has unleashed on the other.” started from the side.” Blinken said at a news conference in Kazakhstan.
– Audrey Wan, Evelyn Cheng
New interactive map tracks changes in troop posture on war front in Ukraine
The Center for Strategic and International Studies, or CSIS, published a new interactive map of the battlefield in Ukraine.
The map, prepared by the Transnational Threats Project, a Washington-based think-tank, shows a timeline of how the nature of the force and how the front lines have changed over the past year.
take a look at new tool here,
Ukraine’s army chief says defense of Bakhmut must continue
A Ukrainian sniper with the 28th Brigade views Russian positions from a frontline trench outside Bakhmut, Ukraine March 05, 2023.
John Moore | Getty Images
Ukraine’s armed forces chief told President Volodymyr Zelensky that the defense of Bakhmut, a besieged city in Donetsk that Russia claims to be effectively encircled, should continue.
Zelensky held a meeting with Valery Zaluzny, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and Oleksandr Sirsky, commander of forces in Bakhmut, specifically focused on the situation and “they agreed to continue defensive operations and further strengthen our country”. spoke in favor of the post in Bakhmut, “the president’s office said in a statement on Monday.
Russia has been slowly advancing on and around Bakhmut for weeks, although fighting in and around the town has been ongoing for nearly seven months, with both sides determined to capture and defend the industrial town respectively .
Russia wants to capture Bakhmut, which has been severely destroyed in fighting, as a way to cut off Ukrainian supply lines to the east, and sees it as a launchpad to larger cities such as Kramatorsk and Sloviansk.
Ukrainian analysts underestimated the importance of Bakhmut, saying that even if the city fell into Russian hands the course of the war would not be changed. Both sides have committed so much manpower to fight there, however, that neither side wants to surrender.
Defense analysts at the US-based Institute for the Study of War believe that Ukraine is beginning to conduct some sort of “limited strategic retreat” at Bakhmut, and that Russian forces will suffer maximum losses during the process. trying to reach.
– Holly Elliot
Russian Defense Minister visits occupied port city of Mariupol
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu attends the annual meeting of the Defense Ministry Board on December 21, 2022 in Moscow, Russia.
Mikhail Klimentyev | Sputnik | reuters
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu visited the Russian-occupied port city of Mariupol on Monday, according to the country’s Defense Ministry.
Shoigu traveled to Mariupol, which is located on the Sea of Azov, to see what the ministry said was a rebuilding of infrastructure. According to a conservative UN estimate, Russia has held Mariupol since last May after a long and bloody siege and bombing campaign that destroyed most of the city’s buildings and infrastructure and killed at least a thousand civilians. took the life of
The Defense Ministry said Shoigu visited a medical center as well as a new residential area made up of 12 five-story buildings, adding that schools and kindergartens were also under construction.
Photos released by the ministry showed Shoigu wearing camouflage as he inspected the new facilities.
Reports suggest that Russia is trying to erase evidence of war crimes in Mariupol, which occurred during several months of bombing of the city, as well as to erase any signs of Ukrainian history and culture – including street Renaming, for example, and introducing Russian courses in schools.
– Holly Elliot
Wagner Group chief says Army HQ has blocked his representative
Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Russian businessman and close ally of Vladimir Putin, heads Russia’s Wagner mercenary group and a range of other companies.
Mikhail Svetlov | Getty Images
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of Russia’s mercenary force Wagner Group, said on Monday that one of his representatives had been denied access to the headquarters of Russia’s “special military operations”.
Prigozhin said on his business ‘Telegram channel’ that he had written to the commander of “Special Military Operations”, as Russia calls its invasion of Ukraine, to “allocate ammunition” to Wagner units fighting in Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine. about the urgent need for .
Then, Prigozhin said, on Monday morning “my representative’s pass at the headquarters was revoked and he was denied access to the group’s headquarters,” according to a Google translation of his remarks.
The founder of the Wagner group said that his units “continue to destroy the Armed Forces of Ukraine near Bakhmut.” But over the weekend, Prigozhin claimed that his fighters were being denied ammunition and that if they were to retreat to Bakhmut, the entire front line would collapse.
Wagner’s forces, made up of mercenaries and men recruited from Russian prisons, have made slow but steady progress in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine. Fighting in Bakhmut is particularly intense, with Prigozhin claiming last Friday that his forces have “practically surrounded” the town.
Prigozhin had previously openly criticized Russia’s military leaders, however, causing a significant rift between Wagner and the Russian Ministry of Defense and the Kremlin.
– Holly Elliot
Pentagon chief says fall of Bakhmut won’t mean Russia has changed course of war
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Monday that Ukraine’s eastern city of Bakhmut was more of a symbolic than an operational one and would not mean that Moscow had regained momentum in its year-long war effort.
A destroyed residential building in Bakhmut, Ukraine, on February 24, 2023.
Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
“I think it has more of a symbolic value than strategic and operational value,” Austin told reporters visiting Jordan, adding that he would not speculate on whether Bakhmut would be taken by Russian forces. .
Austin said, “The fall of Bakhmut will not mean that the Russians have turned the tide of this battle.”
Besieged Bakhmut’s status may be unknown as ‘strategic retreat’
Ukrainian infantrymen with the 28th Brigade look at damaged buildings as they confront Russian troops outside Bakhmut, Ukraine, on March 05, 2023.
John Moore | Getty Images News | Getty Images
The status of Bakhmut remains unclear after conflicting reports over the weekend about how much of the city was controlled by Russian forces, and whether Ukrainian forces were beginning to withdraw from parts of the city.
Volodymyr Nazarenko, a commander of Ukrainian troops in Bakhmut, said in a telegram on Sunday that “there were no decisions or orders regarding the retreat” and that “defense is on hold” in the town but that the situation in Bakhmut and its outskirts was “very absolutely Hell as it is on the entire Eastern Front.”
but on analysts The Institute for the Study of War think tank said on Sunday Ukrainian forces appear to be conducting a “limited tactical withdrawal” in Bakhmut, although he added that “it is still too early to assess Ukrainian intentions regarding a complete withdrawal from the town.”
The ISW said that Ukrainian forces may withdraw from their positions on the east bank of the Bakhmutka River which bisects the eastern side of the city. But it also said that while Russian sources claim that their forces have captured the eastern, northern and southern parts of Bakhmut, and claim to report from the situation in eastern Bakhmut, it does not consider those claims to be independent. Could not verify properly.
The think tank noted, in any case, that it believes “the Ukrainian defense of Bakhmut remains strategically strong as it continues to consume Russian manpower and equipment unless Ukrainian forces suffer excessive casualties. “
ISW said, “Ukrainian forces are unlikely to retreat from Bakhmut all at once and may pursue a gradual battle withdrawal to exhaust Russian forces through sustained urban warfare.”
Last Friday, Yevgeny Prigozin, head of Russia’s mercenary force Wagner Group, claimed his fighters had “practically surrounded Bakhmut”, but also called for more ammunition for his units, saying, “If Wagner retreats from Bakhmut now, the entire front will collapse.” Following Prigozhin’s criticism of defense officials signaled Wagner was experiencing more tension with Russia’s Defense Ministry.
– Holly Elliot