In the battle for Bakhmut, according to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the situation for the Ukrainian defenders is becoming increasingly difficult. Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maljar also said that Russia was pursuing "tactics of attrition and total destruction" against the Ukrainian troops in Bakhmut. The Ukrainians would have to defend themselves against a numerically superior enemy.
"The situation is getting more and more complicated in the direction of Bakhmut," said Zelenskyj in his evening video address. He linked this to a request for more arms deliveries, including for better anti-aircraft defense, including combat aircraft.
Ukraine has been resisting the Russian invasion for over a year, today is the 370th day of the war. The attacked country was promised financial aid during a visit by US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to Kiev. Even if Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) visits Washington at the end of this week, according to the White House, the main focus will be on the war in Ukraine.
Desperate situation in Bachmut
"The enemy is constantly destroying everything that can serve to defend our positions, to fortify and defend them," said Zelenskyy about the fighting in Bakhmut. He called the Ukrainian soldiers who have been defending the city in Donbass for six months "true heroes".
The Ukrainian army defends Bakhmut in a battle of attrition to tie down and inflict casualties on as many Russian troops as possible. However, the Russians are not only attacking from the east. They have also worked their way north and south of the city, leaving the Ukrainians with only one clear road for a possible retreat.
In addition to regular soldiers, Russia primarily uses the Wagner mercenary group in Bakhmut and aims to wear down the Ukrainians. "The enemy army is increasing the intensity of its offensive activities," Deputy Minister Maljar wrote on Telegram. Despite heavy losses, the enemies are in the majority. The information could not be independently verified.
General Staff confirms intensified Russian attacks
The Ukrainian General Staff confirmed intensified Russian attacks on the frontline cities in Donbass. In addition to Bakhmut, yesterday evening's general staff situation report also mentioned attacks on Kupyansk, Liman, Avdiivka and Wuhledar in the east of the country.
The attacks near Avdiivka, which is close to Donetsk, and near Wuhledar were repelled. The Russian Ministry of Defense had previously reported an increase in the offensive in the Donetsk area with artillery and airstrikes.
Yellen brings $10 billion with him
US Treasury Secretary Yellen met Zelenskyy during her unannounced visit to Kiev and assured him of continued US support. She announced that she would release a first tranche of US$1.2 billion (more than €1.1 billion) in economic aid. The US wants to help Ukraine with a total of 10 billion dollars this year. In 2022, Washington gave $13 billion. Military support is not included in the figures.
Selenskyj thanked for the support of the USA since the beginning of the Russian war of aggression. Foreign aid covers more than half of Ukraine's state budget this year. The US also welcomed Saudi Arabia's pledge of $400 million in aid during a visit by its foreign minister to Kiev.
Chancellor Scholz before trip to the USA
According to the White House, the war in Ukraine will be a central topic at the upcoming meeting between Chancellor Scholz and US President Joe Biden in Washington on Friday. "I think I can tell you in good faith that the war in Ukraine will undoubtedly be a major topic of discussion," said National Security Council communications director John Kirby. Germany has been heavily involved and has expanded its support in a meaningful way, as recently demonstrated by the commitment to provide Leopard 2 tanks.
However, there have recently been conflicting accounts from the White House and the Chancellery as to how the commitment to supply main battle tanks to Ukraine came about. A spokesman for the federal government denied that Scholz made the delivery of German Leopard tanks dependent on the supply of Abrams tanks by the United States. Biden's national security adviser Jake Sullivan said so.
That brings the day
In Helsinki today, the Finnish parliament will start the final debate on the EU country's accession to NATO. The vote will probably take place on Wednesday. Under the impression of the Russian attack, the decades-neutral neighbors Finland and Sweden decided to join the defensive alliance. The decisive factor for this is the approval of all NATO member states - only Turkey and Hungary have not yet approved the applications of both countries.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, a Russia ally, visits Beijing on Wednesday. China is also backing Moscow in the war against Ukraine, but has recently presented a kind of peace plan. This was welcomed by Russia, but met with skepticism by Ukraine and its western allies.