RUSSIAN TROOPS “COULD GO FURTHER”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned in an interview with CNN what could happen if Bakhmut falls to Russian forces.
“We understand that after Bakhmut, (Russian forces) could go further” and attack nearby cities in the Donetsk region.
“They could go to Kramatorsk, they could go to Sloviansk, it would be an open road for the Russians after Bakhmut to other towns in Ukraine, in the Donetsk direction,” Zelensky said in an interview set to air on Wednesday.
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu told military officials during a televised meeting on Tuesday that taking control of the city would allow for “further offensive operations” in eastern Ukraine.
Prigozhin has estimated that between “12,000 and 20,000” Ukrainian troops were still defending the town.
Zelenskyy told CNN that his armed forces were resolved to stay in Bakhmut.
“Of course, we have to think about the lives of our military. But we have to do whatever we can whilst we’re getting weapons, supplies, and our army is getting ready for the counter-offensive.”
In Washington, US Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines was optimistic in the medium term.
“We do not foresee the Russian military recovering enough this year to make major territorial gains,” Haines told a Senate hearing.