NEW YORK, January 24. /TASS/. Members of the US administration have advised Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky to retreat from the city of Artemovsk, known in Ukraine by the name of Bakhmut, to cut losses, but the Ukrainian leader is unlikely to follow this advice, CNN reported citing unnamed US and Ukrainian officials.
According to the report, at a meeting with the Ukrainian president, deputy national security adviser Jon Finer, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, and Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl, said the US wants to help Ukraine "shift away from the sort of pitched battle of attrition" in Artemovsk and focus instead on "mechanized maneuver warfare that uses rapid, unanticipated movements against Russia."
To that end, a large number of armored vehicles was handed over to Kiev troops recently.
Sources familiar with Zelensky’s plans told CNN that he "does not believe that a Russian victory in Bakhmut is a fait accompli, and that he remains reluctant to give it up."
In his opinion, holding Artemovsk would give Ukraine "a better chance at taking back the entire Donbas region," while Russia’s victory "will give them an opening to advance further to the strategically important eastern cities of Slovyansk and Kramatorsk."
CNN quoted one US military source as expressing skepticism over Ukraine’s possible retreat from Artemovsk "not because of its battlefield value, but because its strategic messaging value is so important."
The report points at certain benefits for Ukraine of holding Artemovsk, such as "trying to exhaust the Russians."
"But Ukraine is also suffering enormous casualties in the battle and expending tremendous amounts of artillery ammunition daily - a style of fighting that the US does not believe is sustainable. In terms of sheer volume, Russia still has more artillery ammunition and manpower," CNN said.