Bakhmut may fall in ‘coming days’, NATO chief warns: ‘What we are seeing…’

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg warned on Wednesday that the devastated eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut could fall into Russian hands after fierce fighting in the coming months.

Stoltenberg told reporters in Stockholm on the sidelines of a meeting of EU defense ministers, “What we’re seeing is that Russia is throwing in more troops, more forces, and what Russia lacks is the quality that they can build in quantity.” are trying.”

“They have suffered great losses, but at the same time, we cannot rule out that Bakhmut may collapse in the coming days.”

The head of the Western military alliance, which supports Ukraine, stressed “it is also important to highlight that this does not necessarily indicate any turning point in the war.

Read more: On Kiev visit, UN chief condemns ‘shocking’ video of killing of Ukrainian soldier

He said, “It just highlights that we should not underestimate Russia. We should continue to support Ukraine.”

Russia’s Wagner mercenary group claimed Wednesday to have captured the eastern part of the industrial town of Bakhmut, where Russian and Ukrainian forces have been fighting for months.

The announcement came after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned that if Bakhmut fell, Moscow would find an “open road” for an offensive deeper into the country.

The intense fighting around Bakhmut has been the longest and bloodiest in Russia’s more than a year-long offensive, which has devastated large swaths of Ukraine and displaced millions.

EU ministers were discussing plans to ramp up defense production and deliver ammunition to Ukraine as it fires thousands of howitzer shells every day.

Stoltenberg said, “It is now a war of attrition, a war of logistics.”

“The current rate of consumption is not sustainable compared to the current rate of production of ammunition, and therefore we need to ramp up production.”

He welcomed the push by the European Union, which shares 21 member states with NATO, to increase defense production.

“It’s something we’re working on. We’ve already seen significant steps being taken,” he said.

“But we need to do more because we need to make sure Ukraine gets the ammunition it needs to defend itself against Russia’s war aggression, and we need to restock our own stocks.” needs to be filled.”

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