President Zelensky admits he will be under pressure to compromise with Putin if Russian forces take the city of Bakhmut

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has warned defeat in the battle for Bakhmut would enable Russia to start building international support for a deal that would require his nation to make unacceptable compromises.

Zelensky said if the eastern city of Bakhmut fell to Russian forces after a protracted battle, president Vladimir Putin would ‘sell this victory to the West, to his society, to China, to Iran'.

‘If he will feel some blood – smell that we are weak – he will push, push, push,’ he told the Associated Press, adding that a loss anywhere at this stage in the war could put Ukraine’s hard-fought momentum at risk.
‘We can’t lose the steps because the war is a pie – pieces of victories. Small victories, small steps,’ he said.

‘Our society will feel tired. Our society will push me to have compromise with them.’
Some in the West – including former president and 2024 candidate Donald Trump – have questioned whether Washington should continue to supply Ukraine with billions of dollars in military aid and Zelensky worries the war could be impacted by shifting political forces in Washington.

‘The United States really understands that if they stop helping us, we will not win,’ he said.

The Ukrainian president also extended a diplomatic invitation to China’s President Xi Jinping, who just weeks ago met with Putin at the Kremlin for a day of talks, calling him a ‘dear friend’ and signing a slew of agreements designed to strengthen the Sino-Russian relationship.

‘We are ready to see him here,’ Zelensky said of Xi.

‘I want to speak with him. I had contact with him before full-scale war. But during all this year, more than one year, I didn’t have.’

China, economically and politically aligned toward Russia, has provided Putin diplomatic cover by staking out an official position of neutrality in the war.

Xi has been clear about wanting to bring about an end to the war and has proposed a peace plan, but it was dismissed by Ukrainian authorities because it suggested that Kyiv cede territory to Russia to achieve a ceasefire.

While Zelensky acknowledged the war has ‘changed us’, he said it has made his society stronger.

‘It could’ve gone one way, to divide the country, or another way – to unite us,’ he said. ‘I’m thankful to everybody – every single partner, our people, thank God, everybody – that we found this way in this critical moment for the nation.

‘Finding this way was the thing that saved our nation, and we saved our land. We are together.’

Russian forces are relentless in their attempts to capture Bakhmut and nearby Adviivka, and Russian officials claim Putin’s troops are advancing after months of attrition.

The two towns along with other communities in the industrial Donetsk region are at the epicentre of Russia’s attacks – but a statement delivered yesterday by the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces claimed Kyiv’s troops were still holding out.

‘The enemy continues its assault on the city of Bakhmut. However, our defenders courageously hold the city, repel numerous enemy attacks,’ the General Staff said, adding that Ukrainian forces had fended off 57 Russian attacks on Bakhmut and other towns.

Britain’s defence ministry said Russian forces had made only ‘marginal progress’ in an attempt to encircle Avdiivka and had lost many armoured vehicles and tanks.

But Denis Pushilin, the Russian-installed leader of the part of Donetsk region under Moscow’s control, said most Ukrainian forces had pulled back from a metals factory in western Bakhmut and Russian forces were making progress.

Away from the battlefields of the biggest land conflict in Europe since World War Two, Russian ally Belarus said its decision to host Russian tactical nuclear weapons was a response to Western sanctions and what it said was a military build-up by NATO member states near its borders.

U.S. President Joe Biden indicated he would be concerned by the decision, although Washington said it had not seen any indications that Russia was closer to using tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine.

However, Russia had begun exercises with its Yars intercontinental ballistic missile system and several thousand troops, its defence ministry said, in what is likely to be seen as another attempt by Moscow to show off its nuclear strength.

Moscow also said on Tuesday it had shot down a U.S.-supplied GLSDB guided smart bomb fired by Ukrainian forces, the first time it has claimed to have intercepted one of the weapons that could double Ukraine’s battlefield firing range.

The Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine is another flashpoint. The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog is expected to visit the plant on Wednesday.

Rafael Grossi said in an interview with Reuters that his work on forging an agreement to protect Europe’s largest nuclear power station was still alive.

Russia and Ukraine have accused each other of shelling the site.



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10 months ago

Даешь больше элитных подразделений в бахмутскую мясорубку, великий контрнаступ все больше превращается в миф

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