After months of constant shelling of the city of Bakhmut, Ukraine is calling on its citizens to flee. However, sympathizers with the Russian attackers are excluded from it. 6000 civilians are said to live in the ruins.
In view of the heavy fighting in the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, the government in Kiev has called on all civilians still holding out there to flee. "If you are sane, law-abiding and patriotic citizens, you should leave the city immediately," Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchukin appealed to what are believed to be only a few thousand remaining. The Russian army and mercenaries from the Wagner militia have been running for months against the Ukrainian defenders of the almost completely destroyed city, suffering heavy losses.
The city of once 70,000 inhabitants in the Donetsk region is under constant Russian fire. According to the government, five civilians were killed and nine injured on Thursday. According to Wereschuk, there are still a good 6,000 civilians in the city. Again and again there is speculation that an orderly withdrawal of the Ukrainians could be imminent. However, many older people are staying in Bachmut because their only possession is their accommodation and they do not want to leave their place of birth. Some also sympathize with Russia.
Shortly before the start of the Munich Security Conference, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy confirmed that he would under no circumstances negotiate with Russian President Vladimir Putin. "With Putin? No. There is no trust," he told British broadcaster BBC. At the same time he renewed his call for more Western weapons. "Weapons are the only language that Russia understands," he said. At the security conference, to which he was connected via video, he warned that arms aid should be hurried. Putin shouldn't be given a chance to buy himself time for his aggression. Selenskyj compared his country to the biblical David who had to defend himself against a Russian Goliath. "Goliath has already started to lose. Goliath will definitely fall this year," he said.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also believes that a victory for Ukraine in the war against Russia is still possible. "Yes, that's why we support them," he said in response to a question at the Munich Security Conference. The war may end at the negotiating table, but we know that what happens at the negotiating table is entirely dependent on strength on the battlefield. Stoltenberg demanded further battle tank deliveries to the Ukraine.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz called on Western allies to join the German supply of main battle tanks to Ukraine. "This means that everyone who can supply such battle tanks really does," Scholz warned at the security conference. Germany is delivering 14 Leopard 2A6s and, in an unexpectedly slow process, is still looking for partners to equip a Ukrainian battalion with 31 Leopard tanks. Poland is the main supplier for another battalion with the older Leopard 2A4 model.