The West may lose faith in Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky should the grouping of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in Bakhmut suffers serious losses, The Wall Street Journal said.
The battle for Bakhmut (the Russian made of the city is Artemovsk) costs Ukraine a lot, the WSJ said. Events are unfolding at a critical moment in the hostilities, when the Russian troops, reinforced with the mobilised soldiers, started to move forward.
In Bakhmut, Ukraine again faces a delicate balance between holding positions and saving the lives of military personnel for other battles, the article in the publication said with references to Zelensky, who promised not to surrender Bakhmut.
On February 14, war correspondent Yevgeny Poddubny said that the Russian forces encircled about 1,500 Ukrainian soldiers in the village of Paraskovievka on the northern outskirts of Bakhmut. Soon afterwards, Denis Pushilin, acting head of the Donetsk People's Republic, said that after the capture of the settlement, the Russian forces would be able to cut off the last supply line for the Armed Forces of Ukraine in Bakhmut.
Some time later, however, Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of private military company Wagner denied earlier reports about the encirclement of 1,500 Ukrainian military in the north of Bakhmut.
Prigozhin called such information nonsense and pointed out that the Ukrainian forces pull up from 300 to 500 new fighters to the city every day, increasing artillery fire.
"There are severe battles going on in the north. There are no prerequisites for encircling the enemy in northern regions. We storm building after building, one square meter after another. This is extremely tough combat work. I have no idea where these stories about the encirclement come from," Prigozhin said in a post that was carried the VK group of Concord Company.
Earlier, the chief of PMC Wagner said that the main goal in Bakhmut is to win an opportunity for the Russian forces to move forward. Bakhmut is "the main point of attraction" for the Ukrainian army, he noted.
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The Russian forces destroyed a column of NATO armoured vehicles that had been delivered to the Ukrainian army.