Defense of Bakhmut may last another month, Western experts say
Ukrainian military in the area of Bakhmut (Photo:REUTERS/Lisi Niesner)
Ukraine could continue to defend Bakhmut, Donetsk Oblast, from Russian assaults for another month, CNN reported on March 8, citing unnamed Western officials.
Officials noted that Kyiv can still deploy additional troops to Bakhmut, as well as withdraw its forces from the city.
“It may well last another month, or the Ukrainians could decide to leave within a week,” CNN’s sources said.
“They could withdraw to prepare defensive lines which they have to the west of Bakhmut.”
“They have shown previously that they are very adept to withdrawing when they need to, or when they feel they need to,” the officials added.
According to the report, Bakhmut “doesn’t hold any operational strategic significance" for either Russia or Ukraine, but the December trip of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to the city has “politicized” the situation.
They acknowledged that Russia had "taken territory" on the Bakhmut axis, but stated that the indicated territory was an open area and "there were no Ukrainian defensive lines there."
Earlier on March 8, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that Bakhmut could fall in the next few days.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the Ukrainian military leadership was united in the decision to continue with the defense of the city, adding that losing Bakhmut would expose critical logistical hubs in Donetsk Oblast to Russian assaults.
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