The Russian forces are now focusing their main efforts on offensive actions near the town of Soledar in the Donetsk region, said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in his evening address.
Zelensky said that today he held a new meeting of the General Staff, during which special attention was paid to the situation in the hottest areas of the front - in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
"Bakhmut and Soledar, Kreminna and Svatove, we discussed prospects in the Donbas in the coming weeks. The battle for the Donbas continues. And although the occupiers have now concentrated their greatest efforts on Soledar, the result of this difficult and long battle will be the liberation of our entire Donbas," the Ukrainian President stressed.
Zelensky once again thanked the Ukrainian soldiers who defend Bakhmut and withstand new, tougher assaults by Russians near Soledar.
"It's incredibly hard. There are almost no undamaged walls left. Thanks to the steadfastness of our soldiers there, in Soledar, we won additional time and additional strength for Ukraine. And what did Russia want to win there? Everything is completely destroyed, there is almost no life left. And thousands of their people are dead. All the land near Soledar is littered with the dead bodies of the occupiers and the scars from the shelling are everywhere. This is what madness looks like," Zelensky said.
He also expressed gratitude to the soldiers who continue to ensure a gradual advance in other directions - "very careful, calculated and that is why it is absolutely reliable."
A day earlier, Zelensky said that the Ukrainian military leadership had decided to strengthen the defense of Bakhmut and Soledar. Additional troops would be deployed to this sector and the intensity of artillery fire will increase to inflict damage to the enemy.