- Bakhmut is in the province of Donetsk, which was one of four that Russia illegally took over last fall. About half of the area is under Moscow's control.
- Officials from Ukraine have said that they are buying time by reducing the number of Russian troops in the battle while they prepare a counterattack.
Newsweek said on Sunday that a leaked Pentagon paper showed that the Ukraine’s counteroffensive against Russian forces will start on April 30.
Dated February 28, the document explains the delivery of equipment and a training schedule for nine brigades that, with help from the US and its allies, “can be made ready for the spring counteroffensive.” According to the papers, it is expected that three more brigades will be recruited “internally” in Ukraine.
The document said that six of the nine brigades that were taught and given equipment by Western countries would be ready by March 31, and the other three would be ready by April 30.
During a recent trip to the US, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmigal told The Hill that the attack might not begin until the summer.
Monday, the prime minister told reporters that he didn’t think the Pentagon leak would change Kiev’s plans and that “we are sure that the counteroffensive will happen in the near future.”
News organizations found out in April that a bunch of secret US documents, like intelligence reports and daily updates on the Ukraine war, had been dumped online earlier this year. US airman Jack Teixeira, who is thought to be the leaker, was taken into custody by the FBI last week.
Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for the Kremlin, said on Friday that Moscow had looked into the leaked papers. However, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov has said that some of the files could be part of a “deception” campaign.
Much-anticipated Ukraine counteroffensive
In an interview with The Associated Press in Kyiv, Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, said that Ukraine will launch its counteroffensive against Russian troops when it’s ready. He also said that it’s only a matter of time before the country’s military is ready to do so.
He said that Ukraine’s allies are sending heavy armored vehicles and ammunition to help the government get the technical gear it needs to start the attack.
But he was also angry that officials from friendly countries sometimes “promise one thing and do a completely different one.” He didn’t say any more.
“No one will start without being ready if we aren’t,” he said.
Stalemate in war
Heavy fighting in the east of the country, especially around the town of Bakhmut, where the longest and bloodiest fight of the war has been going on for eight and a half months, has led to a standstill in Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Bakhmut is in the province of Donetsk, which was one of four that Russia illegally took over last fall. About half of the area is under Moscow’s control. Bakhmut is an important step toward getting the other half.
Officials from Ukraine have said that they are buying time by reducing the number of Russian troops in the battle while they prepare a counterattack. Zelenskyy says that if Russia wins the battle of Bakhmut, Russian President Vladimir Putin might be able to start getting foreign support for a deal that would end the war but require Ukraine to give up too much.