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Wagner's Boss asks  Zelenskyy to abandon Bakhmut

Russian forces and mercenaries have showered artillery down on the final access routes to the besieged Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, pushing Moscow closer to its first triumph in half a year after the heaviest fighting of the war.

The Wagner Group, a private Russian army, stated on Friday that the eastern salt-mining city, which had been bombed to pieces, was now nearly totally surrounded, with just one road remaining available for Ukrainian forces.

According to Reuters, Russia has been bombarding highways going west out of Bakhmut in an apparent attempt to obstruct Ukrainian forces' passage in and out of the city. Russian tank shelling destroyed a bridge in the nearby village of Khromove.

Ukrainian military were repairing damaged roadways, and additional soldiers were going to the front lines, indicating that Ukraine was not yet ready to hand up the city. To the west, Ukrainians were building additional trenches for defensive positions.

On Friday, Ukraine's ground forces commander, Oleksandr Syrskyi, visited Bakhmut for briefings with local commanders on ways to improve the defence capabilities of front-line units.

Victory in Bakhmut, which had a pre-war population of approximately 70,000 people, would give Russia the first major prize of a costly winter offensive after Moscow called up hundreds of thousands of reservists last year. It is said to be a stepping stone to seizing the nearby Donbas area, a crucial Russian war goal.

Ukraine claims the city has little fundamental strategic worth, but that massive casualties there might influence the fate of the conflict. It reclaimed large swaths of land in the second half of 2022, but its soldiers have now been on the defensive for three months.

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