Russian troops continue to come in waves along the front line in eastern Ukraine, Ukrainian soldiers said on Tuesday, a sign of no let up in Russia’s winter offensive despite Moscow’s failure to secure major victories so far.
With offensives elsewhere on the front having failed, Russia appears determined to secure control of Bakhmut, or at least the ruins that remain, which would mark its first victory since mid-2022.
In a video address overnight, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Ukraine’s future was “being decided” by fighting in the east, including Bakhmut, where Ukrainian commanders say they are killing enough Russian attackers to justify staying and fighting for a ruined city that is almost surrounded.
“The situation in the east is very hard – very painful,” Zelensky said. “We must destroy the enemy’s military power. And we will.”
Further north on the front line near Kreminna, Oleksandr, 50, a unit commander in Ukraine’s 110th battalion, said Russian attacks were still relentless, despite little ground being gained there. The Russians are trying to push back towards Liman, a major transit hub that Ukraine recaptured last year.
“They are pushing hard. They are throwing mortars at us,” Oleksandr told Reuters, describing Russian units advancing in three-man fireteams, with another wave behind them replacing them when they are killed.
“At night they always attack on foot and we sit looking through our thermal binoculars and shoot them.”
The Kremlin, for its part, said it was committed to using force to achieve its war aims and Kiev must accept “new realities” – its shorthand for Russia’s claim to have annexed nearly a fifth of Ukraine. which he invaded a year ago.
“We must achieve our goals. At the moment this is only possible by military means due to the current position of the Kiev regime,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying by Russian state news agencies.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that what is at stake in Ukraine is Russia’s very existence.
Source : Capital gr