As forces close in on Bakhmut, the Russian defense minister pays a rare visit to the front line

Russia's defense minister made a rare visit to Ukraine, his ministry said Saturday, as his forces closed in on Bakhmut, the eastern city that has come to embody Kyiv’s resistance against Vladimir Putin's invasion.

Russia’s focus has been on Bakhmut, a crucial success that could serve as a steppingstone to the Donbas region, Ukraine’s industrial heartland.

The Ukrainian government has attempted to subdue Russian forces by waging a prolonged war for a city it claims has limited strategic value. However, the country’s armed force posted on Saturday that the enemy continues to try to encircle Bakhmut.

The statement also stated that attacks on the villages of Ivanivske (and Bohdanivka) had been repelled. Both are located less than five miles west of Bakhmut’s center. These villages are located on either side of the Bakhmut-Chasiv Yar Road, and would be a major threat to the city’s security.

In the meantime, Britain’s Defense Ministry stated in its regular intelligence bulletin on Saturday that Russian troops made further advances into Bakhmut with support from forces from the Wagner Group, which is a private paramilitary contractor.

The bulletin stated that two Bakhmut-based bridges had been destroyed in the past 36 hours and that the “Ukrainian-held supply routes out of the city are becoming increasingly scarce.”

The actions of Ukraine suggest it might be planning to withdraw from parts of the city. This was according to the Institute for the Study of War in Washington, which is a think tank based in Washington.

According to it, Ukrainian troops could “conduct a limited but controlled withdrawal from especially difficult sections of eastern Bakhmut,” in an effort to stop Russian movement and limit western exit routes.

February 2, 2023 00:18

In the southeastern city Zaporizhzhia rescuers discovered the bodies of three additional people after Russian bombardment of an apartment block with five stories on Thursday.

It added that the death toll had risen to 10 and that a child was also among them.

NBC News cannot verify the death toll and Russia denies intentionally targeting civilians or residential buildings , which is a war criminal.

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