Russian Forces Encircle Ukraine’s Bakhmut City (Worthy News Radio)

Sunday, March 5, 2023 | Tag Cloud

By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News

BAKHMUT/BUDAPEST (Worthy News) – The chief of the Russian paramilitary group Wagner says his fighters have practically encircled Bakhmut, the eastern Ukrainian city the Kremlin has been trying to seize for months. But as Stefan Bos reports, Russian and Ukrainian forces are fighting in the streets as Moscow doesn’t control the eastern city yet.

Ukrainian forces are fighting to keep Bakhmut under their control. Fierce battles are raging in the urban center of this eastern industrial city, one known for its salt and gypsum mines and the site of a famed winery with sparkling wines.

Many of its 71,000 residents have fled. But those who stayed behind now risk their lives if they leave. Authorities say a woman was killed and two men seriously injured by Russian shelling while trying to cross a makeshift bridge out of Bakhmut on Saturday.

The chief of Russia’s paramilitary group Wagner says his fighters have ‘practically encircled’ Bakhmut, which Moscow has been trying to seize for months.

Yevgeny Prigozhin urged the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, to abandon the city. “I am addressing the President of Ukraine,” he said. Prigozhin told him in his video message that his Wagner mercenaries had surrounded Bakhmut and that there was only one road out of the city.

He added: “If earlier we were fighting against the professional Ukrainian army, today we now increasingly see old people and children. They fight, but their lives are short under Bakhmut. One day or two.”


Progozhin asked Ukrainian President Zelensky to give them a chance to leave the city. The camera then turned to what appeared to be frightened captured Ukrainian soldiers and perhaps others who appealed to the Ukrainian president “to let them go.”

The strategic importance of Bakhmut, more than 640 kilometers or 400 miles southeast of Kyiv, has been disputed. But for Prigozhin, the battle represents a chance to showcase his Wagner group’s abilities — even at an enormous human cost, analysts say.

Russia also wants to regain at least some territory after significant losses in recent months. To Ukraine, the city has become a symbol of resistance, more than one year after Russia’s invasion began.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s attempts to describe the invasion as “the war, which we are trying to stop, and which was launched against us using the Ukrainian people” was met with laughter at a geopolitical conference in New Delhi, India.

At the event, the foreign minister said Moscow would seek alternative energy partners, adding: “India and China are certainly among them.”

But back in Bakhmut, the trenches are now filled with shivering or killed soldiers on both sides in an armed conflict resembling the horrors of World War One.

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