Fighting reaching the peak in the middle of Bakhmut as witnessing tough Russian attack


The Ukrainian army confirmed on Tuesday that the situation is very tense around Bakhmut, the front line in eastern Ukraine where Russian forces are trying to besiege the city.

In Russia, the army reported that it shot down several Ukrainian drones targeting civilian infrastructure, without causing damage, as one of them crashed in the Moscow region for the first time.

Meanwhile, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg announced on Tuesday that NATO countries agreed that Ukraine would become a member of the alliance at their request, but this is a long-term possibility.

Although experts disagree about its strategic importance, Bakhmut is of great importance in order to control the industrial Donbass region.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who inspected the front in December, vowed to defend this fortified city as long as possible.

On Tuesday evening, Zelensky said in his daily evening video message, “The greatest difficulties are, as before, in Bakhmut… Russia doesn’t count its men at all, it sends them to attack our positions non-stop… The battles continue to rage”.

“The situation in the vicinity of Bakhmut is very tense,” the army’s official media center quoted the commander of the Ukrainian Ground Forces, Alexander Sersky, as saying.

He confirmed that the Russian paramilitary Wagner Group is on the front line in this battle, and is trying to violate the defenses of our forces and besiege the city.

In recent weeks, Wagner commander Yevgeny Prigozhin has declared control over a number of towns around Bakhmut.

Solidar fell in January, then Krasna Gora in February, and then the village of Yagedny, which lies at the gates of the city on Saturday.

Through this slow advance, the Russians cut three of the four roads that allow the Ukrainians to bring supplies into Bakhmut and only the road leading to the west, towards Chasev Yar, which the Russians are trying to advance from the south, remains available.

The war destroyed a large part of the city of Bakhmut, which had a population of 70 thousand people, and the fighting caused heavy losses on both sides.

Ukrainian authorities confirmed that about 5,000 civilians, including about 140 children, are still in the city despite the danger.

The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky admitted on Monday evening that the situation around Bakhmut is increasingly complicated for Ukrainian soldiers who talk about scenes reminiscent of World War I.

At the meantime all indications says that Bakhmut will most likely fall on Russian hands, due to the Russian fierce attacks and the Ukrainian defenders lack of ammunition and manpower.

Russia, for its part, announced the crash of a Ukrainian drone about 100 kilometers from Moscow on Tuesday, not far from a gas pressure station, adding that three other drones were shot down in other places in Russia, without causing any damage.

Many incidents related to drones have occurred in recent months on Russian soil, sometimes very far from the front in Ukraine, but this is the first time that a similar incident has been reported in the capital region.

These clashes take place days after the war in Ukraine entered its second year, and Russia is subject to a series of Western sanctions.

On the diplomatic front, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, an ally of Moscow who has so far refused to get directly involved in the conflict, arrived in Beijing on Tuesday, but has allowed Russian forces to operate from his territory.

Moscow’s ally in the international arena, China, put forward a proposal last week for peace talks based on a 12-point document in which it urges the Russians and Ukrainians for dialogue, affirms respect for territorial integrity and opposes the use of nuclear weapons.

Westerners generally greeted the Chinese proposal with skepticism.

French President Emmanuel Macron announced at the end of last week that he would go to Beijing in April.

Zelensky confirmed that he was ready to work with Beijing and also announced his intention to meet President Xi Jinping.

Meanwhile, US Defense Department officials said on Tuesday there was no evidence that Ukraine was misusing the tens of billions of dollars in aid it has received since Russia began invading its territory last year, while Republicans seek to strengthen oversight.

According to the Pentagon, the value of military aid provided to Kiev has exceeded $50 billion since the invasion began, with Washington providing more than half.

This led to criticism launched by a number of US politicians, including 11 Republicans, who participated in drafting a resolution stipulating that all aid to Kiev should be stopped.

The remarks were made by Colin Kahl, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Political Affairs, and two other officials during a two-and-a-half-hour questioning session before the House Armed Services Committee.

The questioning session falls within the framework of Republican efforts to strengthen oversight of aid provided by the United States to Ukraine after the elections gave them a majority that enabled them to control the lower chamber of Congress.

During the session, Kahl said, “There is no evidence that the Ukrainians are diverting it to the black market,” referring to the aid provided to Kiev.

“This matter isn’t surprising, given the intensity of the battle and the fact that they are using what we provide and what partners provide to them, to give maximum effect,” Kahl added.

“I think our assessment is that if some of these systems were diverted from their original purpose, it was the Russians who captured them on the battlefield,” he added.

Defense Department Inspector General Robert Storch told the committee that there are a significant number of people in the region overseeing Ukraine’s supply and training mission, and that information is also provided by US military personnel at the embassy in Kiev.

The Storch continued saying, “We haven’t established any incident of illegal diversion of basic weapons such as Stinger missiles”.

Statements made at the hearing were repeated by Pentagon spokesman Gen. Pat Ryder.

Ryder told reporters that Washington had seen no evidence whatsoever of a large-scale diversion of any assistance we have provided for its purpose.

The United States is leading the international community’s efforts to support Ukraine, and has rushed to form an international coalition to support Kiev since Russia began invading Ukrainian lands in February 2022, and has coordinated aid from dozens of countries.

According to the Pentagon, the value of military aid provided to Kiev has exceeded $50 billion since the invasion began, with Washington providing more than half.

According to the Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Representative Mike Rodgers, the total value of aid allocations to Ukraine has exceeded one hundred billion US dollars.

He said at the outset of the session that this matter requires oversight on an unprecedented level on the part of this committee and Congress.

Washington pledged to supply Kiev with a number of weapon systems, but it didn’t provide it with the F-16 fighters that Ukraine had requested, and this issue was raised repeatedly during the session.

Kahl said that taking this step would cost billions of dollars and could take about 18 months, and would choke off funds that could be used to meet more urgent needs.

He said that fighters are a priority for the Ukrainians, but not among their top three priorities, referring to air defense systems, artillery and armored vehicles.

US officials have repeatedly indicated that Washington will continue to support Ukraine as long as necessary, and Kahl said that this could extend for years.

“The conflict may end after six months, after two years, or after three years,” he added.

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