Ukraine mocks Putin’s small gains after ‘trying to take Bakhmut for a year’ | World | News

The city has been at the centre of fighting in recent months, with Russia viewing it as a potential coup if they can claim the territory. But Mr Yurash is confident Ukrainian soldiers can defend the city because of Kyiv’s previous victories in the war.

He said: “The assumption was that Russia would defeat Ukraine in many places. That failed. So will fail the assumption that we are in a stalemate and we cannot win against Russia. We have won against Russia around Kyiv and other parts of the country.

“The Russians have ground to a halt. They cannot even take the single city of Bakhmut.

“It is irrelevant if the Russians take Bakhmut. The point is they have been trying to take the city for a year. They have the second biggest army in the world and they cannot take a second-rate city.

“The Russians will sacrifice a great number of men to achieve very little.”

While Russia has not yet taken Bakhmut, there have been growing fears in recent weeks that Vladimir Putin‘s troops could eventually break through.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, leader of the Wagner Group mercenaries helping the Russian army, has called on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to take his men out of the city.

He added that his fighters have “encircled” Bakhmut.

However, a Ukrainian soldier released a video from the city, saying: “Friends, at the moment there is no withdrawal of troops from Bakhmut.

“Fighting continues in all areas of the city, the 93rd stands and continues to perform the tasks assigned to it. The situation is actually complicated, but trust only official sources and do not panic.”

With fighting intensifying in Ukraine, Mr Yurash is urging Western leaders to help Kyiv by supplying fighter jets.

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Mr Yurash continued: “The pursuit of NATO and EU membership is fundamental to our future. Look at Estonia, it is tiny compared to Ukraine, but there are no tanks going across their border.”

NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg said earlier this week that Ukraine will be welcomed into the alliance in the “long term”.

He added: “Nato allies have agreed that Ukraine will become a member of our alliance, but at the same time that is a long-term perspective.

“What is at issue now is that Ukraine can prevail as a sovereign independent nation.”

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