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Battle for eastern Donbas 'painful and difficult`' says Zelenskyy

Ukrainian soldiers prepare to fire a self-propelled howitzer towards Russian positions near Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Sunday, March 5, 2023.
Ukrainian soldiers prepare to fire a self-propelled howitzer towards Russian positions near Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Sunday, March 5, 2023. Copyright LIBKOS/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.
Copyright LIBKOS/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.
By Euronews with AP & AFP
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Ukrainian forces defending Bakhmut are facing increasingly strong pressure from Russian forces as fighting intensifies in and around the eastern city.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Sunday said his defending troops were in a "painful and difficult" battle in the eastern Donbas region and referred to the struggle in the war-torn city of Bakhmut.

"I would like to pay special tribute to the bravery, strength and resilience of the soldiers fighting in the Donbas," Zelenskyy said in his nighly address.

"Thank you, guys! I thank all the soldiers, guardsmen and border guards who are defending our country in the Bakhmut, Vuhledar, Avdiivka, Siversk, Svatove, Lyman and Zaporizhzhia directions" he added.

Two civilians were reported killed in Bakhmut on Sunday, while Kharkiv's governor, Oleh Syniehubov, said Russian shelling destroyed homes and killed one person in northern the town of Kupiansk.

The Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based think tank, said Ukrainian troops might conduct a limited and controlled withdrawal from "particularly difficult sections of eastern Bakhmut,” while seeking to inhibit Russian movement there and limit exit routes to the west.

British military intelligence said Kyiv has now dispatched elite units to the region while Russian troops are advancing in the city's northern suburbs.

Capturing Bakhmut would not only give Russian fighters a rare battlefield gain after months of setbacks but could rupture Ukraine’s supply lines and allow the Kremlin’s forces to press on toward other Ukrainian strongholds in Donetsk province.

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