Zelenskyy explains why Ukraine will not give up defense of Bakhmut

24 April, 02:16 PM
Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the Donetsk Oblast (Photo:www.president.gov.ua)

Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the Donetsk Oblast (Photo:www.president.gov.ua)

Ukraine will not give up the war-ravaged Donetsk Oblast town of Bakhmut because that move would expand the front, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in an interview with news outlet Al Arabiya that aired on April 23.

“It’s impossible for us to give up on Bakhmut, because this would expand the battle front and give Russian forces and Wagner (mercenaries) the chance to seize more of our land," the president said.

He said that if Russia captures Bakhmut, it could serve as a jumping off point for a further advance to Kramatorsk and Slovyansk, putting these cities at risk of destruction as well.

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The Ukrainian leader said that Bakhmut needs to be visited “to understand what could happen and what the threats are.

"The battle for Bakhmut has been going on since July 2022. On April 19, 2023, the commander of the Ground Forces, Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi, said that the Armed Forces continue to hold back the Russian offensive, inflicting significant losses on them.

According to leaked Pentagon files, in January, the United States advised Ukraine's military leadership to withdraw from the city to reduce losses. However, the Supreme Commander-in-Chief's Staff decided to strengthen the defense instead.

Zelenskyy later said that if Ukrainian troops are defeated in Bakhmut, pressure from both the international community and the public for Ukraine to make concessions will mount, and Russian President Vladimir Putin will be able to "sell this victory."

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