Saturday, April 1, 2023

Ukraine Holds Back on Southern Counteroffensive; Ukraine Says Bakhmut Tactics Will Give It Advantages Elsewhere; Ukraine Aims to Exhaust Russian Troops in Bakhmut; Can Ukraine Maintain and Optimally Use Its Modern Western Tanks? - LIVE UPDATES and MORE

Dmytro Smolienko / Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images 
Ukraine holds back on southern counteroffensive, soldiers say:
In a split-second, two Ukrainian jets appear over the road, releasing chaff that sets off a couple of Russian anti-aircraft missiles.
It allows one of the planes to hit a Russian position that billows with black smoke rising over the trees, leaving no doubt on how close the two sides are to one another.
Such skirmishes are frequent in the Zaporizhzhia Oblast, where most battles are fought with artillery duels, air sorties, and localized clashes over a few villages nearby.
Close to the southern front line of Russian-controlled territories, a quick drive down the bumpy roads of the oblast reveals trenches with soldiers, shovels in hand, plowing through the fields on long lines along the way.
Preparations to fortify the area look well underway, but the spring counteroffensive promised by the Ukrainian government in the south still seems to be in the distant future for the soldiers stationed there, harassed by Russians' constant shelling.
The situation on the front line remains challenging for Ukraine in the south, but Russian troops can’t advance, Southern Operational Command spokesperson Natalia Humeniuk said on March 14. The U.K. Defense Ministry attributed it to Russia’s aggravating artillery ammunition deficit.
A Ukrainian officer in his fifties, who declined to give his name for safety reasons because he leads a mobile anti-aircraft unit in the region, told the Kyiv Independent that the front was "moderately stable" despite a few Russian attempts to break through Ukraine's defensive lines.
"They're looking for our weak spots," he says, "but we haven't let them take even a meter." --->READ MORE HERE
Libkos/Associated Press
WSJ: Ukraine Says Bakhmut Tactics Will Give It Advantages Elsewhere:
Ukraine’s efforts to exhaust and deplete Russian forces in the eastern city of Bakhmut will help it reclaim other territory in the country, a Ukrainian commander in the area said.
“Our main task is to wear down the overwhelming forces of the enemy and inflict heavy losses on them,” Ukrainian Col. Gen. Oleksandr Syrskiy wrote on Telegram below a video in which he delivered a similar message to troops. “It will create the necessary conditions to help liberate Ukrainian land and speed up our victory.”
For six months, Russian forces—led by Wagner Group paramilitaries—have been pushing to capture Bakhmut in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region. Much of the city has been flattened and both sides have endured heavy losses, leading some Western analysts to question whether holding the city was worth the resources Ukrainians were expending there.
Mr. Syrskiy, who visited troops around Bakhmut on Monday, acknowledged the difficulty of defending the city but told the soldiers their efforts were part of a larger strategy. Ukraine says it is preparing to launch its own offensive, which analysts say could aim south toward the Sea of Azov, a band of territory including the cities of Melitopol and Mariupol that Russia has occupied since early in its 2022 invasion.
“The enemy is trying to capture Bakhmut, using their best units,” Col. Gen. Syrskiy said on the video. “Our task is to destroy as many of these enemies as possible and create the conditions for offensive actions. Therefore, it is necessary to put an end to those units of the enemy that oppose you.”
In recent weeks, Russian progress in Bakhmut has appeared to stall, with the pace of assaults slowing. The leader of Wagner has publicly complained that his forces are being hindered by a lack of ammunition.
Still, Denis Pushilin, the head of the Russian-backed statelet Donetsk People’s Republic, based in a region that Moscow said it had annexed last year, said Wagner forces had pushed Ukrainian troops from an industrial plant in the center of Bakhmut.
“The enemy has already moved to previously prepared positions…beyond the periphery of the factory,” Russian state news agency TASS reported him as saying. “Our boys are on the move.”
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday led a panel of foreign ministers who discussed a peace plan proposed by President Volodymyr Zelensky at the start of a virtual democracy summit organized by the Biden administration. --->READ MORE HERE
Follow links below to +++++relevant+++++ and related stories:

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