What did the Defense Minister of Russia say on the war in Ukraine’s Bakhmut: ‘The city is…’

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Tuesday that the capture of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine would help Moscow’s military launch a more aggressive campaign.

Russian forces have been waging an intense campaign for months to regain control of the small town, which would be their first significant territorial advance since last summer.

Shoigu also said the West was increasing arms supplies to Ukraine, but vowed not to change events on the battlefield.

“The liberation of Artemovsk continues,” Shoigu said in televised remarks, using the old Soviet-era name for Bakhmut.

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Shoigu said, “The city is an important center for the defense of Ukrainian troops in Donbass. Taking control of it will allow further offensive operations in the defensive lines of Ukraine.”

The highly industrialized Donbass region of eastern Ukraine includes Donetsk and Luhansk, which are claimed by Russia as well as two other Ukrainian regions.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group, which is leading the battle for the city, said last Friday that his forces had “practically surrounded” Bakhmut.

Ukraine’s top generals have vowed to defend the city, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly address on Monday.

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