Ukraine President Zelenskyy warns that Russia can have an open road to East Ukraine if they seize Bakhmut (Image: AP)
Defending his decision to keep Ukrainian forces in the besieged city, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned, "Russian troops will have an open road to capture key cities in eastern Ukraine if they seize control of Bakhmut."
According to a report, Zelenskyy said, "This is tactical for us”, while insisting that Kyiv’s military brass is united in prolonging its defense of the city after weeks of Russian attacks left it on the cusp of falling to Moscow’s troops.
“We understand that after Bakhmut they could go further. 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,” Zelenskyy said, according to a report.
Further, Zelenskyy asserted that his goals to keep the city are so different to Russia’s objectives. “We understand what Russia wants to achieve there. Russia needs at least some victory, a small victory even by ruining everything in Bakhmut, just killing every civilian there,” Zelensky said.
The Russian President said that if Russia is able to put its little flag on top of Bakhmut, it would help mobilise their society in order to create this idea that they are such a powerful army.
Zelenkyy further mentioned that he had a meeting with the chief of staff yesterday and the chief military commanders online and offline, where they discussed standing strong in Bakhmut. He said, "We have to think about the lives of our military. But we have to do whatever we can whilst we are getting weapons, and supplies and our army is getting ready for the counter-offensive.”
“The military sees for themselves that we have to stay strong there despite the fact that Russia ruined the whole city and everything there,” Zelenskyy said, adding that troops were helping kids, and civilians leave the town.
Notably, during his nightly address on Monday, Zelenskyy said his advisers had unanimously agreed to press on with the fight against Russia and bolster Ukrainian defences.
Zelenskyy said, "The commander of the regional grouping and Ukraine's commander-in-chief have told him that they will not step back from the area and will strengthen defenses. They have spoken in favour of continuing the defence operation and further strengthening our positions in Bakhmut."