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Ukraine’s president visits front-line city in country’s east

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has visited the embattled Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, the recent focus of some of the most intense fighting of Russia’s war, his office said.

The eastern city is the scene of “fierce battles” between Ukraine’s defenders and Russia’s invading forces, the president’s office in Kyiv said Tuesday.

The office said that Zelenskyy met and chatted with military personnel.

Earlier this month, Zelenskyy said Russia’s efforts to conquer Bakhmut had turned the eastern Ukrainian city into ruins.

“The occupiers actually destroyed Bakhmut, another Donbas city that the Russian army turned into burnt ruins,” he said.

Bakhmut has remained in Ukrainian hands during the almost 10-month war, thwarting Moscow’s goal of capturing Donetsk province, part of the Donbas region bordering Russia.

Taking Bakhmut would rupture Ukraine’s supply lines and open a route for Russian forces to press on toward Kramatorsk and Sloviansk, which are key Ukrainian strongholds in the province. Pro-Moscow separatists have controlled part of Donetsk and neighboring Luhansk province since 2014.

Mercenaries from the Wagner Group, a shadowy Russian military company, are reported to be leading the charge in Bakhmut.

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