TheVoiceOfJoyce Why is the city of Bakhmut so important to Russia, that they’re pouring manpower into this battle? According to The Economist, Russia is losing it’s population. Many of their intellectuals, 500,000 to a million people have left Russia. With Russian men dying, there are 10 women for every man. With the Russian population down to 145 million , why is Putin persisting and losing men in battle? Are the Southern Ukrainian territories protected? On a positive note, Ukrainian crops are ready for shipment and awaiting a new safe transport agreement. Germany is pushing for peace negotiations. The war will not end favorably for Putin. The only failed state will be Russia.

Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu visited Mariupol, in a rare visit to occupied Ukraine by a senior Moscow figure. The Russian defence ministry issued images on Monday of Shoigu “inspecting Russian reconstruction efforts of infrastructure”. During his visit, it said, he was presented with a medical centre, a rescue centre, and a “new microdistrict” of 12 five-story residential buildings.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy has paid tribute to fighters in the Donbas, as his forces come under increasingly intense pressure in the city of Bakhmut. “It is one of the toughest battles. Painful and challenging,” he said in his nightly address.

His comments came after Kyiv said it had repelled “more than 130 enemy attacks” on Sunday as Russian troops continue attempts to surround Bakhmut. Russian forces are said to be contesting lines of communication and preventing resupply.

Zelenskiy also said “the world was strong enough to punish Russia for the war”. Ukraine would spend the next six months working to shore up the country’s energy supply against Russian attack, he said.

The founder of Russia’s Wagner mercenary force, Yevgeny Prigozhin, said that his representative had been denied access to the headquarters of Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine after Prigozhin complained about a lack of ammunition.

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