The fight for Bakhmut in the Donetsk region is the focus for the conflict right now….
And it’s NOT going good for the Ukraine forces right now…
Grain exports from the Ukraine continue…..
The fate of the city, which military experts say holds little strategic value, assumes outsize importance a year into President Vladimir Putin’s full-scale war, as Ukraine prepares for what is likely to be a grueling spring offensive and Western leaders scramble to deliver arms and ammunition they hope will tip the scales in its favor.
The months of brutal fighting in Bakhmut, resulting in thousands of dead and wounded on each side, underscores the remote likelihood of any near-term end to a conflict that has overturned decades of relative stability in Europe and intensified strains on the global economy.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, speaking in a nightly video address on Sunday, acknowledged the battlefield difficulties in Ukraine’s embattled east and honored troops fighting there.
“It is one of the toughest battles,” he said. “Painful and challenging.”
While Zelensky has called for Russian forces to be repelled from every inch of his country, Putin has shown no willingness to back away from his own military aims.
The Ukrainian military’s General Staff said that Russia’s invading force continued “to advance in the direction of Bakhmut” on Sunday, citing Russia’s shelling of the city and surrounding villages….
The city, which Russians call by its Soviet-Russian name, Artyomovsk, is now almost completely destroyed, and most of its citizens, from a prewar population of 70,000, have fled.
Russian forces, led by the Wagner mercenary group, have waged a months-long onslaught. If the Ukrainians retreat, they will fall back just a few kilometers to long-planned defensive positions…..
Ukrainian military leaders have already indicated that they would not attempt to hold the city at any cost, potentially choosing to reserve manpower for their spring campaign, which is expected to begin in coming weeks.
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