As shelling continues in parts of Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk, Moscow claims that its troops have seized three more districts in western Bakhmut.
Kremlin forces have held three of the city’s four flanks for weeks. Ukraine holds now only the western flank.
However, the head of the Russian mercenary group Wagner Yevgeny Prigozhin warned of Ukraine’s reinforcement of anti-aircraft systems and in particular the increased training of troops.
Kyiv looks to bolster military efforts
For its part, Ukraine is preparing new brigades and units to regain the initiative on the front and asked allies for more military support.
Deputy Foreign Minister Andriy Melnyk called on them to pledge 1% of their GDP to supply weapons to Ukraine.
Ahead of a meeting of allies at Ramstein airbase in Germany on Friday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stressed the importance of continued support for the country.
“I just came back from Kyiv yesterday night and I met with President Zelenskyy, and his message was that he really appreciates and welcomes the strong support NATO allies and partners have provided for Ukraine, but also counts on us to continue to support Ukraine in the future,” said Stoltenberg.
Likewise, the US Defence Secretary, Lloyd Austin, said the United States will begin training Ukrainian forces on how to use and maintain Abrams tanks in the coming weeks.
Zelenskyy: More sanctions against Russian firms
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced on Saturday new sanctions against hundreds of companies that he said “invest in and support Russian aggression”.
In an evening address, Zelenskyy said 322 companies which manufacture military items for the Russian army such as weapons and components had been added to the sanctions list.
He said a number of other individuals and legal entities which “help circumvent sanctions against Russia, hold property of war criminals and are involved in the destruction of freedom both in Russia and on our soil” had also been added to the list.