The Russian military launched a new large-scale offensive against Bakhmut ahead of the first anniversary of the war, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said. The city was subjected to heavy artillery shelling, but the Ukrainian military was ready for this, writes Reuters. Positions in Bakhmut were fortified, and only people performing military functions were allowed in, the agency reports to the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
“We see what Russia is doing now – President Putin is sending thousands and thousands of additional troops, accepting a very high level of casualties,” Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels.
Capturing Bakhmut would give Russia a new foothold in the Donetsk region and a rare victory after months of setbacks. Earlier, Ukrainian media, citing intelligence reports, reported that Putin ordered Shoigu and Gerasimov to seize the "LDNR" by March.
“Still, we can talk about the priority direction for the Rashists - this is the Donbass,” said Andrei Yusov, a representative of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry. - And the next deadlines that Putin already defines for Gerasimov, as for the new “head of the NMD”, but in fact the war against Ukraine, and Gerasimov lowers these goals already lower - these are the goals of capturing Donbass and forming a certain security zone there - already until March months."