According to Volodymyr Zelensky, president of Ukraine, operations to protect the beleaguered eastern city of Bakhmut will continue and have the support of senior generals.

At the weekend, Western observers predicted that as Russian forces drew closer to the city, Ukraine was undoubtedly pulling back some of its troops.

Russia has been attempting to seize Bakhmut for months, as both forces suffer significant casualties in a bloody attrition war.

According to a local official, there have been recent instances of street violence.

Oleksandr Marchenko, the deputy mayor, asserted over the weekend that Russia had not yet taken over the city.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, commander of the Wagner private army engaged in the Russian operation, has also expressed dissatisfaction with the absence of since there appears to be conflict between his soldiers and the regular Russian forces.

He also claims that access to a Russian military headquarters had been denied to his representative.

Despite having limited strategic worth, according to analysts, Bakhmut has become a focus for Russian commanders who have found it difficult to bring the Kremlin any good news.

Taking the city would move Moscow a little closer to its objective of controlling the entire Donetsk area, one of the four eastern and southern Ukrainian territories it seized last September after widely criticised http://Russia-Ukraine war referendums that were widely criticised outside of Russia as being a hoax.

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In a statement, Mr. Zelensky claimed to have spoken with Oleksandr Syrsky, the country’s ground force commander, and both Valery Zaluzhny and the head of Ukraine’s armed forces, about Bakhmut.

They advocated for sustaining the defensive operation and fortifying our positions in Bakhmut, according to the statement.

The remarks were in response to a story by the German daily Bild that Gen Zaluzhny had argued with Mr. Zelensky on the operation some weeks before and suggested a pullback from the city, citing Ukrainian government sources.

The majority of the defence agreed with Gen Zaluzhny, the article added.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a research tank with offices in the US, also stated over the weekend that Ukrainian troops were likely engaging in a “limited fighting withdrawal” while “continuing to inflict substantial fatalities” on the Russians.

The Ukrainska Pravda newspaper cited Gen. Syrsky as saying that the combat in Bakhmut had reached the “highest level of tension” during a visit to the front line on Sunday.

He said, “The enemy has been bringing in extra Wagner forces. To stop the city from being encircled, “our troops have valiantly defended our positions in the north of Bakhmut.”

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