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Official: Russia ‘threw its full strength’ into encircling Bakhmut.
Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said on Feb. 4 that, over the past week, Russian forces had thrown all their strength into “breaking our defense and encircling Bakhmut and launched a severe offensive near Lyman."
Maliar added, however, that Russia's attempts to surround the town of Bakhmut in Donetsk Oblast had failed so far.
President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Feb. 3 that Ukraine “will not surrender” Bakhmut.
“No one will surrender Bakhmut. We will fight as long as we can,” Zelensky said at a press conference following a historic Ukraine-EU summit in Kyiv.
The Ukrainian intelligence on Feb. 2 issued a stark warning that Russia was redeploying additional assault groups and military equipment in an effort to capture the Donbas by March.
Russian regular forces, along with Kremlin-controlled mercenary group Wagner, have been attempting to capture Bakhmut for months as Russia tries to consolidate its grip over the entirety of Donetsk Oblast, half of which it currently controls.
Russian troops have recently captured settlements north and south of Bakhmut and are trying to cut off all supply lines leading to the embattled town.
Capturing Bakhmut would allow Russia to disrupt Ukraine’s supply lines in the area and open up the main road leading to the two key Ukrainian cities of Kramatorsk and Sloviansk.