Ukrainian Forces Repel Multiple Attacks In East, Kyiv Says, As Russians Make ‘Small Gains’ Near Bakhmut

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Ukrainian soldiers

Ukrainian forces repelled Russian attacks in a dozen settlements in the country’s east and northeast over the past day, inflicting “significant loses” to Russian troops, the Ukrainian military said on February 14.

Ukrainian troops have been “taking additional measures to strengthen defense,” it said in a statement. Russia launched 32 air strikes and two missile attack over the past day, according to a statement from the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed forces.

British intelligence said in its daily report on February 14 that the Russian mercenary group Wagner “made further small gains around the northern outskirts of the contested Donbas town of Bakhmut, including into the village of Krasna Hora” in the last three days.

Russian forces for months have been trying to capture strategic towns and cities, including the battered city of Bakhmut, which endured heavy artillery fire on February 13.

Capturing Bakhmut would give Russian forces a new bridgehead in the Donetsk region.

Russia likely aims to reverse some of the gains Ukrainian forces made over September-November 2022: there is a realistic possibility that their immediate goal is to advance west to the Zherberets River,” Britain’s Ministry of Defense said on its daily bulletin.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg backed reports by Ukrainian officials that a major new Russian offensive had begun.

Speaking to reporters in Brussels on February 13, Stoltenberg said the Western military alliance sees “no sign whatsoever” that Russian President Vladimir Putin is preparing for peace.

NATO defense ministers are to begin a two-day meeting in Brussels on February 14 after a gathering in Germany of the so-called Ramstein group composed of dozens of countries that have been providing arms to Kyiv.

The Ramstein group is expected to discuss possible further military aid as Ukraine calls for its allies to provide fighter jets and long-range missiles. Stoltenberg said the issue of aircraft is to be discussed at the NATO meeting, in which Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov will take part.

“What we see is President Putin and Russia still wanting to control Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said. “We see how they are sending more troops, more weapons, more capabilities.”

Kyiv has been anticipating a broad offensive that could not only target the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in the east, but also the Kharkhiv region in Ukraine’s northeast and the Zaporizhzhya region in the southeast.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in his evening address on February 13 that he had met during the day with military commanders to discuss the defense of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions as well as the south of Ukraine, including Odesa.

“Constant attention is paid to the supply of weapons, ammunition, and everything that adds strength and stability to our soldiers,” he said, but provided no further details.

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