Zelenskyy urges quick aid from allies as Russia attacks eastern

Zelenskyy urges quick aid from allies as Russia attacks eastern Ukraine – Portal

  • The eastern city of Bakhmut prepares for a Russian attack
  • Ukraine launched its own offensive in the spring – Austin
  • NATO is working to give Kiev the means to make it work, he says

KIEV, Feb 15 (Portal) – Ukraine urged allies to quicken the pace of military aid as NATO defense ministers braced for a second-day meeting on Wednesday and Russia bombarded the eastern front line in what appeared to be early volleys of a new one offensive.

Much of the Russian artillery fire was concentrated on Bakhmut, a bombed-out town in Donetsk province and a key target of President Vladimir Putin. Ukrainian troops have fortified positions there in anticipation of street fighting.

Bakhmut’s capture would provide a springboard for Russia to advance into two major Donetsk cities, Kramatorsk and Sloviansk, and give Moscow a boost after months of battlefield setbacks following its invasion last February.

NATO defense ministers began two-day talks in Brussels on Tuesday to discuss the war and stockpiles. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russia was in a hurry to achieve as much as possible with its latest push before Ukraine and its allies could gain strength.

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“That’s why speed is required,” he said in an evening video address on Tuesday.

“Speed ​​in everything – making decisions, executing decisions, making deliveries, conducting training. Speed ​​saves lives, speed brings safety back, and thank you to all our partners who recognize that speed matters.”

Ukraine is using grenades faster than the West can make them.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said he expected Ukraine to launch its own offensive against Russia in the spring, and Kiev’s allies were working to ensure they had the armor, firepower and logistics to make it effective.

“Ukraine has an urgent need to help it deal with this crucial moment in the course of the war. We believe there will be an opportunity for them to take initiative,” Austin said at the defense ministers’ meeting Tuesday.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said Putin was “preparing for more war, for new offensives and new attacks.”

As the first anniversary of the Russian invasion approaches, the Kremlin has stepped up operations in part of southern and eastern Ukraine, and a major new offensive has been widely expected.

In its evening report, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said Russian forces directed mortar and artillery fire at more than 20 towns and villages in the Bakhmut region, including the town itself.

They also launched rocket attacks on the industrial cities of Kostyantynivka and Kramatorsk in Donetsk, sources said.

“Each and every house (in Bakhmut) is fought over to gain an advantage. The situation remains extremely difficult, but under the control of our armed forces and the front line has not moved,” Ukrainian military analyst Oleh Zhdanov said in a YouTube video.

“There’s a very large number of Russian troops and it’s a very difficult grind.”

White House spokesman John Kirby said Russian forces had made incremental progress in their assault on Bahkmut.

Britain said on Tuesday mercenaries from the Wagner Group who led the Russian attack on Bakhmut had made small gains in its northern outskirts over the past three days.

Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin said Russian forces would not be able to capture the city any time soon. In a post on the Telegram platform, Prigozhin said Ukraine is reinforcing up to 500 new fighters every day.


Ukraine, which last month promised main battle tanks, is desperate for warplanes and long-range missiles to turn the tide against Moscow’s vastly superior firepower.

The Federal Defense Minister said on Tuesday that supplying Ukraine with fighter jets is currently not the focus, but is definitely being discussed.

The Kremlin, which describes the invasion as a “special military operation” to eliminate security threats, said NATO is showing its hostility towards Russia every day and becoming more involved in the conflict.

Kiev and its allies call Russia’s actions an unprovoked land grab.

Ukrainian officials also said the Russians suffered heavy casualties, including tanks, armored vehicles and personnel, around Vuhledar, a town 150 km (90 miles) southwest of Bakhmut.

Portal was unable to independently verify battlefield reports.

On the snow-covered Ukrainian front line between Vuhledar and Marinka, 30 km northeast and 400 meters (1,300 ft) from Russian positions, two officers said Kiev’s forces were fighting back the intensifying Russian artillery and mortar fire.

Russia now holds parts of the southern Kherson and Zaporizhia regions, including its nuclear power plant, almost all of Luhansk and more than half of Donetsk, including the region’s capital.

A US-backed report released on Tuesday said Russia has held at least 6,000 Ukrainian children – likely many more – at locations in Crimea and Russia whose primary purpose appears to be political re-education.

Russia’s embassy in Washington said Russia took in children who had to flee the shelling in Ukraine with their families.

Reporting by Caleb Davis, Sabine Siebold, Pavel Polityuk, Ron Popeski, Lydia Kelly, Aleksandar Vasovic, Tassilo Hummel, Steve Holland, Doina Chiacu, Ron Popeski, and David Ljunggren; writing by Stephen Coates; Editing by Himani Sarkar

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