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Eastern Command: Ukraine has not made decision to withdraw from Bakhmut
Despite ongoing heavy battles in Bakhmut, Donetsk Oblast, the Ukrainian forces have not made the decision to withdraw from the city, Serhii Cherevaty, spokesman of the Eastern Operational Command, told CNN on March 1.
“If we see that the threat to our personnel and our operational situation is greater than the need to hold the territory, we do it (withdraw troops), but we do it in an organized manner, without panic,” Cherevaty said.
On Feb. 28, Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar reported that additional troops would be sent to Bakhmut.
On Feb. 15, Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of Russia's Wagner mercenary group, said that Bakhmut could be surrounded in March or April. Prigozhin added, though, that it is "hard to predict," and Russia's success in surrounding the town partially depends on the amount of Western weaponry supplied to Ukraine.
Ukraine continues to hold Bakhmut despite the seven-month-long Russian attempt to capture the city as Moscow tries to increase its grip over the entirety of the eastern Donetsk Oblast, around half of which it currently occupies.
At the same time, according to the U.K. Defense Ministry's intelligence update published on Feb. 24, Russia has likely changed its approach from seizing extensive territory in Ukraine to exhausting the resources of the Ukrainian military.