Ukraine claims ‘first success’ in attack around Bakhmut

Ukraine on Monday claimed the “first success” of its offensive around Bakhmut, pushing past the flanks of Russian defences, as its President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in London to continue his European tour and seek even more military aid.

Even before they arrived in the UK, London promised to deliver “hundreds” of anti-aircraft missiles “over the next few months” and attacked drones in Kiev, as the Ukrainian army prepares to expel Russian troops from its territory had completed

For several days, the Ukrainian army has said it is advancing north and south of Bakhmout (East), the epicenter of fighting for several months and the scene of the bloodiest fighting since the start of the Russian offensive.

“The advance of our troops in the Bakhmut area is the first success of the offensive” aimed at defending the town, now mainly controlled by the Russians, General Oleksandr Syrsky, commander of Ukrainian ground troops, declared on Monday. ,

On Sunday, Kiev vowed to have captured “more than 10 enemy positions north and south of Bakhmut”, after claiming to have captured two kilometers in the area on Friday.

On the contrary, Russia, for its part, says that it is advancing only within this city, which it has been trying to conquer since last summer, at the cost of significant losses and without success at this stage.

Observers doubt the strategic importance of conquering the city for Moscow, but it would allow the Kremlin to register a victory after several humiliating setbacks.

On occasion, the paramilitary group Wagner is supported by the regular Russian army, although its leader, businessman Evgeny Prigozhin, routinely accuses the military hierarchy of not providing his men with enough ammunition to be able to conquer Bakhmut. not giving.

Last week, he also accused some soldiers of the Russian army of “fleeing” from their positions, believing that the defenses had “collapsed”.

For its part, the Russian Defense Ministry, with which Mr Prigogine has been in open conflict for several months, again on Sunday reiterated “all attacks” “north and south” of Bakhmut, brushing off Kiev’s claim .

However, in a sign that the situation has complicated for the Russian military, the ministry also announced on Sunday the death of two military officers in fighting, a rare communication from Moscow since the start of its offensive.

– Zelensky on his “friend” craze –

The first success claimed by Ukraine in its Donbas region comes as President Volodymyr Zelensky is visiting several European offices to demand more arms and military equipment for his people.

Ukraine’s attack near Bakhmut (AFP)

On Monday, he flies to London to visit his “friend Rishi” Sunak, whose country “(Kiev) has been in the lead in providing additional land and air resources”, he announced. According to him, talks will take place in the English capital “face to face” and “through representatives”.

On 11 May, the United Kingdom announced the supply of Storm Shadow missiles, which can strike at ranges of 250 kilometres, Ukraine has been asking for months to hit Russian targets behind the front line.

On Sunday, Mr Zelensky received renewed commitments from France in Paris, particularly in the area of ​​light armored vehicles, which are particularly useful on the battlefield.

“In the coming weeks, France will train and equip several battalions with dozens of armored vehicles and light tanks, including the AMX-10 RC,” according to a joint statement issued after a dinner between Mr Zelensky and French President Emmanuel Macron.

Volodymyr Zelensky was stopping in France after visiting Italy over the weekend, where he met with Pope Francis and then German Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

Mr Zelensky’s German phase, the first since the start of the Russian invasion, marked an apparent warming of relations between Berlin and Kiev, a time marked by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s failure to deliver weapons demanded by ‘Ukraine’ The delay was stressful. The German government also announced a new military aid package of 2.7 billion euros for Ukraine, a record amount since the start of the conflict, which notably included dozens of tanks, armored vehicles, surveillance drones and four new Iris-T Air defense systems are included.

However, Mr Zelensky’s repeated requests to his Italian, German and French counterparts for the fighter jets have been in vain. “The question is a bit premature,” reiterated an adviser to Emmanuel Macron.

The war in Ukraine: the situation as of 15 May (AFP - )
The war in Ukraine: the situation as of 15 May (AFP – )

Also at the diplomatic level, Chinese envoy Li Hui, special representative for Eurasian affairs, will visit Kiev on Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss a solution to the war in Ukraine, according to a senior Ukrainian government official.

According to Beijing, the visit is part of a larger tour including Poland, France, Germany and Russia, where Mr Li will discuss a “political solution to the Ukrainian crisis”.

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