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War in Ukraine, Day 374 | Russian troops advance in Bakhmout



(Moscow) The pressure on the Ukrainian army intensifies in Bakhmout, the Russian troops continuing to advance in the northern outskirts of this symbolic city.

“The Ukrainian defense of the town of Bakhmut is under increasing pressure, with intense fighting in and around the town,” the UK Ministry of Defense tweeted on Saturday.

He reported an “advance” by the “Wagner group and the Russian regular army in the northern suburbs of the city now vulnerable to attack from three sides”.

As a result, Kyiv is “reinforcing the area with elite units and in the past 36 hours two key bridges in Bakhmout have been destroyed, including a vital bridge linking the city to the last main supply route”, the official continued. British ministry.

Villages north and west of Bakhmout were attacked on Saturday, Serhii Cherevatyi, spokesman for the Eastern Grouping of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, told CNN on Saturday, reporting a total of 131 assaults on that front.

The battle for Bakhmout, an industrial city whose strategic importance is disputed, has been going on since the summer. The city has become a symbol, because it has been at the heart of the fighting between Russians and Ukrainians for months.

For its part, the Russian Ministry of Defense Sergei Shoigu inspected on Saturday an advanced command post in the “Donetsk-South” zone, during a visit “in the zone of the special military operation”, without specifying the exact place, nor the proximity to the front line, nor the date of this visit.

The ministry released a video showing Mr. Shoigu traveling in a helicopter, then speaking – without a helmet or combat gear – with a soldier in the same uniform, in front of damaged buildings, under the guard of a soldier .

The day before, the paramilitary group Wagner, which regularly accuses the Russian army command of not providing enough support, claimed to have “virtually surrounded” Bakhmout, in the Donetsk region, and called on President Volodymyr Zelensky to sound the withdrawal of his troops.


A Ukrainian tank near Bakhmout

“Epicenter” of the conflict

“The situation in Bakhmout is difficult, but under control,” a spokesman for the Ukrainian army, Serguiï Tcherevaty, told the My-Ukraina television channel on Saturday.

According to him, the city, now largely destroyed and largely emptied of its inhabitants, is currently the “epicenter” of the conflict.

In recent weeks, Russian forces have advanced, cutting off three of four Ukrainian supply routes and making the position of the defenders increasingly precarious.

« Les unités de Wagner ont pratiquement encerclé Bakhmout, il ne reste plus qu’une seule route » pour en sortir, a souligné vendredi le patron de Wagner, Evguéni Prigojine, dans une vidéo publiée par son service de presse.

En tenue militaire et casqué, M. Prigojine a appelé M. Zelensky — qui avait juré de défendre Bakhmout « aussi longtemps que possible » — à donner l’ordre aux troupes ukrainiennes de se retirer de la ville.

Kyiv a indiqué samedi que le chef des forces spéciales ukrainiennes, le général Viktor Khorenko, avait inspecté des unités qui défendent Bakhmout.

Nouvelle aide américaine

Alors que se poursuivent ces combats acharnés, le président Joe Biden a annoncé vendredi une nouvelle aide militaire à l’Ukraine de 400 millions de dollars.

L’aide militaire occidentale à l’Ukraine a été cruciale pour permettre à Kyiv de résister aux troupes russes et même de regagner du terrain, mais le Kremlin a déclaré que cette aide ne ferait que « prolonger le conflit ».

Washington a néanmoins inclus dans ce soutien militaire des munitions, notamment pour le système de roquettes Himars, que les forces ukrainiennes ont utilisé avec un effet dévastateur sur les troupes et lignes logistiques russes.

Le ministre ukrainien de la Défense, Oleksiï Reznikov, a salué un nouvel « investissement solide pour les futurs succès de l’armée ukrainienne sur le champ de bataille ».

De son côté, Volodymyr Zelensky a reçu samedi à Lviv, dans l’ouest de l’Ukraine, la présidente du Parlement européen, Roberta Metsola. « L’Ukraine a comme objectif […] to start negotiations to join the EU this year,” he said on Telegram.


European Parliament President Roberta Metsola and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during their meeting in Lviv

Mme Metsola said he shares that goal. “The future of Ukraine is in the European Union,” she said.

Meanwhile, several officials from Ukrainian regions in the south and east of the country have reported new Russian fire against civilian infrastructure in the past 24 hours.

According to a new report from the Ukrainian emergency services, the strike against a residential building in Zaporijjia, on the night of Wednesday to Thursday, left 11 dead, including a child.

The authorities also announced the death of two civilians during a “Russian artillery” strike on Saturday morning on the town of Goulyaï Polé, and two other deaths during firing on the town of Chervonohryhorivka in the Dnipro region.

On Telegram, the mayor of the town of Horlivka, under the control of pro-Russian separatists from Donetsk, told him that two civilians had been killed during a bombardment coming from “Ukrainian forces”.

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