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General Staff: Ukrainian forces repel 70 Russian attacks. Russian troops are reportedly concentrating their efforts on conducting offensives toward Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Marinka in Donetsk Oblast. Ukrainian forces repelled more than 70 Russian attacks in those directions on March 31, the General Staff of Ukraine's Armed Forces said in its morning update.
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Zelensky holds meeting of commander-in-chief's staff, discusses Bakhmut

by The Kyiv Independent news desk March 14, 2023 5:11 PM 1 min read
Ukrainian servicemen sit on a BMP military vehicle as they move towards Bakhmut in the region of Donbas, on March 13, 2023, amid the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine. (ARIS MESSINIS/AFP via Getty Images)

President Volodymyr Zelensky held another meeting of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief's Staff on March 14, discussing the battlefield situation on the Bakhmut front line.

"After considering the defense operation's progress in the Bakhmut area, all staff members expressed a common position regarding the further holding and defense of the city of Bakhmut," President's Office wrote.

The Supreme Commander-in-Chief's Staff gathered amid fierce fighting raging over Donetsk Oblast's Bakhmut in Ukraine's east as Russia's Wagner mercenaries try to break through Ukrainian defense and advance to the central areas of the city.

In his evening address on March 13, Zelensky said it was "very tough in the east, very painful," adding that the country's future "is being decided" on Ukraine's eastern front line. Earlier, he told CNN that Russian forces would have an "open road" to seize other critical settlements in eastern Ukraine if they capture Bakhmut, defending Kyiv's decision to continue the city's defense despite Ukrainian troops suffering heavy losses.

The embattled city of Bakhmut has been Russia's main target for over seven months. Despite being surrounded on three sides by Russian troops, Ukraine's military has committed to its defense of Bakhmut, ostensibly to inflict large-scale attrition on the forces of the Wagner paramilitary group.

The March 14 meeting's participants also reportedly analyzed the provision of weapons and ammunition to Ukraine's Armed Forces on the front lines.

The meeting was attended by Zelensky's chief of staff, Andrii Yermak, Oleksii Danilov, secretary of the National Security and Defense Council; Commander-in-Chief of Ukraine's Armed Forces Valerii Zaluzhny; Defense Intelligence Сhief Kyrylo Budanov and Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal.

Mayor: Wagner forces attempt to recruit residents of occupied Melitopol to fight in Bakhmut
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