Ukraine troops will take ‘corresponding’ action if encircled in Bakhmut: Zelenskyy

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Ukrainian troops face a really difficult situation in the eastern city of Bakhmut, but Kyiv will take the “corresponding” decisions to protect them if they risk being encircled by Russian forces, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Wednesday.

The Ukrainian leader told a news conference in Poland that Kyiv’s forces in Bakhmut sometimes advanced a little only to be pushed back by Russian forces, but that they remained inside the city.

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“We are in Bakhmut and the enemy does not control it,” Zelenskyy said.

Bakhmut, in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, has been one of the bloodiest and longest battles of Russia’s full-scale invasion, now in its second year. Ukrainian forces have held out against a Russian onslaught there with heavy losses on both sides.

“For me, the most important is not to lose our soldiers and of course if there is a moment of even hotter events and the danger we could lose our personnel because of encirclement - of course the corresponding correct decisions will be taken by generals there,” he said.

The comment appeared to be a reference to the idea of withdrawing.

Zelenskyy spoke at a news conference alongside Poland’s president in Warsaw. His trip comes with Ukraine expected to launch a counteroffensive to seize back land in the south and east from Russian forces in the coming weeks or months.

Zelenskyy said that the more ammunition Ukraine receives from Western partners, the faster it would be able fight back in Bakhmut and elsewhere.

“There is success in some districts of Bakhmut - we’re going forward. Or there’s no [success] and we’re again leaving for positions,” he said.

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