March 31, 2023

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Ukraine president’s adviser to CNN: Army exploring “all options” in Pakmut, including withdrawal

(CNN) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s adviser on economic affairs, Alexander Rudnyansky, told CNN on Tuesday that the Ukrainian military is exploring “all options” for the besieged city of Bakhmut, including a “strategic withdrawal” if necessary.

Rodnyansky told CNN reporter Isa Soares that the situation in Pakmut was “difficult,” adding: “There’s no secret to that,” adding: “Russia is trying to get around it now, and they’re using the best elements. (Wagner) military group, very trained. seems to have.” and experience.”

He continued, “Obviously, our military will consider all options so far, you know, they’ve taken control of the city, but, if necessary, they will strategically retreat, and if we retreat, we’ll make sure we protect. The area west of Bagmut.”

On Tuesday, Zelensky said the biggest challenge facing Ukraine was defending the city of Pakmut, adding that “the situation in Pakmut is very difficult, and it is necessary to conduct battles to protect the city.”

Ukrainian officials said Russian forces were shelling the city heavily, but that it was not surrounded, and that there were still several thousand civilians in the eastern city, from which most humanitarian aid had been cut off.

When asked about the timetable, Rudnyansky replied that “it is up to the military to decide at what point to withdraw,” but added: “They will withdraw, or they will surrender if they think the cost of continuing is greater than the gains.”

He said: “Over the past months we have been keen to strengthen the area west of Baghmut, which was not well fortified two months ago, so it is a completely different situation, if we want to withdraw, this is not necessary. The Russians can advance very quickly and whatever happens, our counter-attacks will soon be a will be around the corner.”

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“It will be similar to what happened at the beginning of the year around Kharki when the Russians took it, but we took it back in a few days,” he said.

Rodnyansky expressed his “frustration” at the “late” arrival of Western weapons, adding: “It started coming, unfortunately, late, which is a tragedy. We could have started training our troops or sent them to Germany months earlier. To prepare, but now we have this delay. Let’s face it, Russia is trying to manipulate that timetable to its own advantage.