Zelensky says Ukraine will defend Bakhmut, ‘but not at any price’
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Ukraine will continue to defend Bakhmut, an eastern city in Donetsk province that has seen months of brutal Russian attacks, but “not at any price.”
“Yes, it is not a particularly big town. In fact, like many others in Donbas, (it’s been) devastated by the Russians,” Zelensky told Italian publication Corriere della Sera in an interview published Sunday, per Reuters.
“It is important for us to defend it, but not at any price and not for everyone to die,” he added.
The comments suggest that Ukraine’s willingness to absorb losses in Bakhmut is limited as Russia has reportedly lost hundreds of soldiers a day in some of the bloodiest fighting since the war began almost a year ago.
Zelensky noted that Russia is also ramping up its attacks on the cities of Kramatorsk and Sloviansk, which are located in the western part of the Donestk province.
“We will resist and meanwhile prepare the next counter-attack,” he continued.
Russia began its long-feared winter counter-offensive in Ukraine last week in the eastern part of Ukraine. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Thursday that Russia was continuing to send large numbers of “ill-equipped and ill-trained” soldiers into the country. He also said Russia had amped up its shelling in the Bakhmut region.
President Biden announced that he will be traveling to Poland to mark the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion into Ukraine at the end of this month. He is expected to deliver remarks on how the U.S. rallied the world to support Ukraine and commit to standing with Ukraine throughout the war.
Vice President Harris said on Saturday that the United States had formally determined that Russia committed crimes against humanity in its invasion of Ukraine.
“The United States has formally determined that Russia has committed crimes against humanity, and I say to all those who have perpetrated these crimes, and to their superiors, who are complicit in these crimes, you will be held to account,” Harris said in a speech at the annual Munich Security Conference.
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