The battle for the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut is not over yet. Meanwhile, the dispute between the Wagner mercenaries and the Russian army continues to smolder. news at a glance
For the time being, Kiev wants to hold on to the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, which has been fought over for months, despite being almost completely encircled. This was announced by the Ukrainian government after a briefing between President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Commander-in-Chief Valery Salushnyy and the head of the land forces Olexander Syrskyy.
The two military officers spoke out in favor of continuing the defense operation and further strengthening our positions in Bakhmut, it said. According to observers, the announcement could be a reaction to rumors published by the Bild newspaper, among others, about a rift between Zelensky and Saluschny over the procedure in Bakhmut.
For months there has been fighting around Bachmut, where around 74,000 people lived before the war. The city, in the ruins of which, according to official figures, around 5,000 civilians are still holding out, was almost completely destroyed. The strategic value of Bakhmut after the Russian troops were expelled from the Kharkiv region is low. For the Russian military leadership, however, the receipt has great symbolic power, since it has to show successes. The Ukrainian side held Bakhmut for a long time, since the well-developed positions in the city made it possible for the attackers to inflict heavy casualties during their slow advance.
Ukrainian partial withdrawal from Bakhmut possible
According to military observers, however, Kiev could withdraw its armed forces from at least parts of Bakhmut. Ukrainian forces may withdraw from their positions on the east bank of the Bakhmutka River in the face of the destruction of the railway bridge across the river in northeast Bakhmut on March 3, confirmed by images with geolocation, the US-based Institute for War Studies (ISW ). According to Russian military bloggers, the Wagner mercenary force fighting there has meanwhile taken parts in the east, south and north of Bakhmut.
Dispute between Wagner troops and Russian military continues
Meanwhile, the conflict between the mercenary force and the Russian Defense Ministry continues to smolder. Recent reports about an alleged threat by Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin to withdraw his unit fighting in front of Bakhmut and thus provoke a collapse of the front are probably an older statement by the oligarch. It is said to have fallen at the height of the conflict a few weeks ago, when the mercenaries complained about the Ministry’s inadequate supply of ammunition.
However, Prigozhin confirmed on the Telegram channel of his press service that there was still a dispute. As of Monday morning, his representative was denied access to the Army Group’s headquarters, he complained. However, he did not speak of a withdrawal of his units. We will continue to crush Ukrainian forces at Bakhmut, he said.
Ukraine reports nighttime drone and missile strikes
According to information from Kiev, the Russian military again carried out numerous aerial attacks on Ukraine on Monday night. Drones were launched from the north, Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Yuriy Ihnat said on TV. According to him, the air defense was able to shoot down 13 of the 15 drones.
Several impacts were reported from the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk. The city in the Donetsk region, which is under Ukrainian control, was fired at with rockets. The consequences of the night rocket attack – a school was destroyed and 15 apartment buildings were damaged, the mayor said. As a result, no one was injured or killed.
The air alert was briefly triggered again nationwide on Monday morning. The all-clear was given later. Since the fall, the Russian military has regularly launched massive rocket and drone attacks on Ukraine. Most attacks are aimed at power plants. Millions of Ukrainians are thus forced to get by for long periods in winter without electricity and sometimes also without water and heat supply.
Melnyk calls for the SPD to deliver fighter jets
On the occasion of their visit to Kiev, the Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Andriy Melnyk called on the SPD leadership to follow up with action. He hopes that SPD leader Lars Klingbeil will recognize the need to persuade the federal government to make further courageous decisions, especially releasing fighter jets, Melnyk told the German Press Agency. Klingbeil surprisingly arrived in Kiev on Monday together with SPD parliamentary group leader Rolf Mützenich to hold talks with representatives of the government and parliament.
So far, neither the SPD nor the federal government have wanted to take part in the discussion about the delivery of fighter jets. The debate makes no sense, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) said at the end of February. However, several NATO countries have shown themselves open to such a step.
Russia’s Defense Minister Shoigu visits Mariupol
According to official information, Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has visited the Ukrainian port of Mariupol, which was destroyed when it was captured by Moscow troops in spring 2022. Shoigu checked the work of the construction brigades in Mariupol during his inspection tour of the Donbass, the Russian Defense Ministry announced on its Telegram channel.
On the video recordings, the 67-year-old can be seen in a newly built hospital and in front of the civil defense building. The pictures are supposed to demonstrate the activity and care of the Russian leadership. Criticism has increased recently that those responsible in Moscow are only waging the war from their cabinets and are not paying attention to the concerns of the soldiers and the local population, which Russia, according to its own understanding, had liberated.
Ukraine: Retrieved more than 300 children
According to official figures, Ukraine has brought back more than 300 children from Russian-controlled areas since the start of the Russian war of aggression a year ago. The Human Rights Commissioner of the Ukrainian Parliament, Dmytro Lubinets, reported a total of 307 cases. Among them is an eight-year-old boy who is now with his grandmother. Lubinez did not give any details – not even about where exactly and how the minors were brought back.
Ukraine has accused Russia of repeatedly abducting and Russifying children from the war zone since the invasion. According to information from Kiev, a total of 14,000 Ukrainian children were brought to Russia. Moscow rejects the accusation and says the children are being taken to safety before the fighting.