Russia defence chief inspects front line as Bakhmut battle rages

In a display of partnership after friction over supplying tanks to Ukraine, Biden welcomed Scholz to the White House for his first trip to Washington since the start of Russia’s military offensive.

When they last met “Russia was amassing its troops” on the border, Biden said in brief remarks to the press, adding the West had vowed to respond and “together we made good on that promise”.

In reply, Scholz said it was important to send a message to Ukraine that “we will continue to (support it) as long as it takes and as long as it necessary”.

Despite the absence of a joint press conference, Scholz said the bilateral relationship was “in a very good shape”.

In another show of support for Ukraine, US Attorney General Merrick Garland made a surprise visit to the country on Friday.


Ukrainian troops have held out for months in Bakhmut, fighting brutal trench warfare and artillery battles that have flattened large portions of the city, and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy this week said the fighting was “only increasing”.

His comments followed an assessment from the commander of Ukraine’s ground forces Oleksandr Syrskyi that it was “extremely tense” in the city.

While the hotspot of the fighting is in the east of Ukraine, Russia said this week that a group of Ukrainian combatants had crossed into the southern Bryansk region.

Kyiv dismissed the claims as a “deliberate provocation.”

Moscow says its regions bordering Ukraine are routinely shelled by Ukrainian forces, but the reported incursion was a rare instance of fighting inside Russia.

The Kremlin said it would take steps to prevent cross-border incursions which killed two.

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