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EU defense chiefs discuss arming Ukraine as Bakhmut fighting rages

EU defense ministers were preparing to meet on Wednesday to discuss plans to dispatch €1 billion of ammunition to Ukraine

European Union defense ministers prepare to meet Wednesday to discuss plans to rush to supply Ukraine with 1 billion euros of ammunition as allies in Kiev come under pressure to supply more to the war effort was doing

Ukraine’s critical ammunition shortage has become a top priority on the agenda of a meeting in Stockholm, where European leaders have said they will reduce the thousands of 155mm high-explosive rounds that Kiev’s forces are firing daily in fighting heavy Russian offensives. Attempt to replenish ammunition.

Fighting rages around the town of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, with President Volodymyr Zelensky warning that if the town falls, Moscow will have an “open avenue” for an attack on his country. are doing.

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“I understand that after Bakhmut they can go further. They can go to Kramatorsk, they can go to Sloviansk. After Bakhmut to other towns of Ukraine in the direction of Donetsk It will be an open road for Russians in Russia,” Zelensky told CNN in an interview scheduled to air in the United States on Wednesday.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen emphasized Europe’s resolve to prevent a Russian aggression during a visit to Canada on Tuesday.

“I will never allow a military power with imperial fantasies to roll tanks across its borders,” von der Leyen said in a speech to the Canadian parliament.

But a report released in the New York Times on Tuesday said U.S. officials had seen new information indicating that a “pro-Ukrainian group” was behind last year’s sabotage of the Nord Stream gas pipeline. claims and can raise difficult issues among allies.

A senior Ukrainian government official, Mikhaylo Podoljak, dismissed the report, saying the country had “nothing to do with the Baltic accident.”

-Battle of Bahumut-

Russian forces pledged on Tuesday to capture Bakhmut, a pre-war salt-mining town of 80,000 people.

The heavy fighting around the town was the longest and bloodiest of Russia’s more than a year-long invasion, devastating large swaths of Ukraine and displacing millions of people.

Ukraine said it had identified a video of a missing soldier being shot in the area, sparking outrage on social media and UN Secretary-General António Guterres heading to Kiev for talks.

The footage shows a detained Ukrainian fighter standing in a shallow trench, smoking a cigarette, saying “Glory to Ukraine” and being shot.

Russia seems willing to take over the town at any cost.

“The capture (of Bakhmut) will enable further offensive operations deep within the Ukrainian military’s defense lines,” Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu told military officials in a video conference on Tuesday. rice field.

The Russian mercenary group Wagner is spearheading an attack on Bakhmut, trapped in a rift with the Russian military leadership. ’ and seemed to mock Shoigu.

Zelensky told CNN his army is determined to stay in Bakhmut.

“I had a meeting yesterday with the chief of staff and the commander-in-chief of the military online and offline … and they all say that we must stand strong in Bahmut,” he said.

“Of course, we have to think about the lives of our troops.

-Polish tank-

Prigozhin estimated that “12,000 to 20,000” Ukrainian troops were still guarding the city.

He said “very tough fighting is going on day and night” but Ukrainian fighters “are not fleeing”.

Ukraine got a boost on Tuesday when its western neighbor and staunch ally Poland announced it would send the promised 10 Leopard tanks this week.

Both sides say a significant number of soldiers died in the Battle of Bahmut, but neither gives figures.

Outside the town, a Ukrainian soldier told AFP that Kiev was losing control.

“Bahmut will fall,” said a weary soldier in the town of Chasib Yar, 10 kilometers west of the front line, on Monday.

Some troops began retreating in “small groups,” he said.

Ukrainian officials say about 4,000 civilians remain in the town, which is virtually flat.

“As far as we know, about 38 children remain in Bakhmut,” Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vereschuk told local media on Tuesday.

– Belarus Detains Subversive Group –

Minsk on Tuesday accused Kiev’s intelligence services of being behind a partisan conspiracy to damage Russian military aircraft in the country last month, amid fears that Russia-allied Belarus and Ukraine’s northern neighbors will join the conflict. condemned.

Longtime leader Alexander Lukashenko said 20 people had been detained in connection with the attack on the plane. Opponents of the regime said partisans damaged a jet on an airstrip near the capital Minsk last month.

Lukashenko identified the main culprit as a dual citizen of Russia and Ukraine.

Lukashenko, who a year ago allowed Russia’s ally Vladimir Putin to use Belarusian territory as a starting point for an invasion of Ukraine, said the suspect was a “terrorist.”


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https://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/latest-news/eu-defence-chiefs-to-discuss-arming-ukraine-as-bakhmut-fighting-rages/news-story/6e53cb63037f5b9bcfe217719df6e6db EU defense chiefs discuss arming Ukraine as Bakhmut fighting rages

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