President Volodymyr Zelensky has warned that if Russia is able to hold the city for the longest and most accounts, the center, The bloodiest war Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine could destroy his country’s chances of stopping Moscow from redrawing the borders of democratic Eastern Europe by force. Speaking to The Associated Press, Zelensky said that if Bakhmut fell, Putin “could sell this victory to the West, to his society, to China, to Iran,” to push for a ceasefire agreement that Ukraine would agree to. Leave the area.
“If he senses some blood — smells that we’re weak — he’ll push, push, push,” Zelensky told the AP. He was acutely aware of the risk that his country could begin to slip its vital support from the United States and Europe as the 13-month war unfolded.
“Our society will feel exhausted” if the Russians win, he said. “Our society will pressure me to compromise with them.”
Ukraine’s forces, backed by an increasingly lethal wave of Western arms and financial aid, have been able to hold Russian invaders at bay, even regaining some of the captured land in the past six months.
Zelensky knows that Western support depends on political leaders from Washington to Berlin Claims – The Voice to CBS News Even before last year’s invasion – that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a direct threat to the entire democratic Western world. That is as the United States prepares for a national election That can change support levels dramaticallyThe Ukrainian leader emphasized its importance.
“The United States really understands that if they stop helping us, we’re not going to win,” he told the AP.
For now, Help kept coming.
Heavy tanks donated by the UK and Germany arrived this week and are already being prepared for deployment on front lines stretching across eastern Ukraine.
Although Russian forces carved that line into Ukrainian territory in the south near Bakhmut, further north, around Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, Ukrainian forces drove the invaders back into Russian soil after their rapid advance at the start of the war.
CBS/Institute of War
Along that line are the battle-hardened soldiers of Ukraine’s 209th Battalion. Far from any hall of power, the earthen walls of the trench protect the soldiers as they keep a watchful eye on the front lines.
“I will hate the Russians for the rest of my life,” said one soldier, as he looked over the lip of the trench at the distant Russian position.
Lieutenant “Lord,” his call sign, has fought since the first days of Putin’s full-scale offensive, when thousands of Russian troops poured across Ukraine’s northern and eastern borders, including the Kharkiv region.
Putin’s new threat issued this week, To deploy “strategic nuclear weapons”. Fighter jets and ballistic missiles are now hovering over troops east of Kharkiv, just across Belarus’ northern border with Ukraine.
With eyes on Russian land on the horizon, Ukrainian soldiers were dismissive, describing Putin as an old man throwing empty threats.
“It’s just blackmail,” said a sergeant named Alex, “due to fewer and fewer Russian victories.”
“He could deploy them on the moon,” joked his fellow soldier Zhavya of Putin’s nuclear arsenal. “Grandpa forgot to take his pills.”
Soldiers roamed the trenches for three to five days at a time. Few people find comfort in the frigid, muddy front lines.
“I try to maintain my humanity,” Zavyaga told CBS News. “I just want to finish and go home, have a wife, have a child.”
The soldiers were hopeful that with an expected Ukrainian counteroffensive this spring, Ukraine would win the war and their country and the line they held would stand as a shield for democracy around the world.
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