Ukrainian soldiers ride in a tank near the frontline town of Bakhmut, Donetsk, January 20, 2023. Photo/REUTERS/Oleksandr Ratushniak
WASHINGTON – The United States (US) believes Ukraine should “refocus” preparations for a new attack. Washington suggests the fierce battle for the eastern city of Artyomovsk (called Bakhmut by the Ukrainians) may “hold up” Kiev.
The reports by several news outlets cited a senior US official. The comments contradicted months of Western media reports describing the city as a key and strategic area.
Addressing a small group of reporters on Friday, a top official in US President Joe Biden’s administration (who declined to be named or quoted verbatim) said “Ukraine should not be fixated on defending the city of Bakhmut at any cost.”
In the AFP report, Kiev was suggested to use the time to prepare a massive counteroffensive against Russia.
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“The intense focus on the city hindered Ukraine from a more important task, organizing a spring offensive to recapture territory lost to Moscow,” the official said.
The source noted “time is favorable for Russia” due to superior troop numbers and artillery.
In a similar report on Friday, Reuters also indirectly quoted a senior Biden administration official who advised Kiev to wait “until the latest supplies of US weapons become available and training has been provided”.
That advice appears to refer to a $2.5 billion arms package approved in Washington this week.
The aid included a large quantity of artillery shells, ammunition for a US-supplied HIMARS multi-launch rocket platform, and, for the first time, a Stryker fighting vehicle, but no tanks.
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