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War in Ukraine | Ukrainian army may withdraw from Bakhmut



(Kyiv) Ukraine’s military may withdraw from the key eastern stronghold of Bakhmout, an adviser to Ukraine’s president revealed on Wednesday, amid a relentless Russian offensive that has sought months to take the city.

“Our military will obviously evaluate all options. So far they have held the city, but if necessary they will withdraw strategically,” Alexander Rodnyansky, economic adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, told CNN. We’re not going to sacrifice all of our people for nothing. »

The battle for Bakhmut in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine has become a symbol of Ukrainian resistance as the defenders hold their ground in the face of relentless shelling and waves of Russian troops suffering heavy casualties in a campaign to capture the city that has been going on for several months.

Mr Rodnyansky noted that Russia was using the best troops from the Wagner Group, a private military company run by a shady millionaire with long-standing ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, to encircle Bakhmut. Recent drone footage shows the extent of the devastation in the city, which Mr Zelensky described as “destroyed”.

Meanwhile, one of Mr Zelenskyy’s top advisers, Mykhailo Podolyak, denied on Wednesday that Ukraine had used drones to attack Russian territory, following official Russian statements that Ukraine had targeted infrastructure in the deeper into Russia.

“Ukraine does not hit the territory of the Russian Federation. Ukraine is waging a defensive war with the aim of disoccupying all of its territories,” Podolyak wrote on Twitter, suggesting that the targeting of Russian infrastructure was the result of “internal attacks.”

Ukraine’s Western allies have discouraged Ukraine from attacking targets in Russia itself to avoid an escalation of the conflict, and Mr. Podolyak’s statement may reflect an attempt by Kyiv to maintain a degree of denial about it. to these Western concerns.

In the past, Ukrainian officials have not claimed responsibility for attacks in Russia, but have also insisted that Ukraine has the right to strike any target on Russian territory in response to its aggression.

Photos of a downed drone near the village of Gubastovo, less than 100 kilometers from Moscow, show that it is a small Ukrainian-made model with a range of up to 800 kilometers, but which is not capable of carrying a large amount of explosives.

In Russia’s Bryansk region, local governor Aleksandr Bogomaz said in a Telegram message that Russian forces shot down another Ukrainian drone on Tuesday. Officials said the drones caused no injuries and did not inflict significant damage.

The Russian Defense Ministry announced on Wednesday that it had prevented a massive drone attack in Crimea. According to Russian state media, six drones were shot down by air defense forces, while four others were disabled by electronic warfare systems.

In Ukraine, at least nine civilians were killed and 12 others were injured on Tuesday across the country, the Ukrainian president’s office reported Wednesday morning.

Fierce fighting continued in the eastern province of Donetsk, where the towns of Bakhmut, Avdiivka and Vouhledar, along with 17 other towns and villages, came under intense Russian bombardment. “The shelling does not stop on the entire front line,” the presidential office said in a regular update.

In the country’s easternmost province of Luhansk, regional governor Serhiy Haidai revealed that the Ukrainian army had blown up a warehouse in Russian-held Kadiivka on the site of a factory where Russian forces were storing trucks full of ammunition.

The Russian army tried to break through the Ukrainian defenses at Bilohorivka and near the Kreminna, “but the Russian attack was repelled”, Haidai said.

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