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The Supreme Leader of Russia Inspects the Frontlines as Bakhmut is Besieged

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Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu inspected the front lines in the theater of war in eastern Ukraine, according to official sources, while Russian forces pushed to encircle the eastern city of Bakhmut as fighting raged across the city.

The Defense Ministry said Shoigu had “searched a command post on the front” in the direction of the southern Donetsk region, without specifying the exact location or time.

The ministry released a video that showed Shoigu traveling in a helicopter, then speaking to a soldier in front of the damaged buildings.

He is also shown presenting medals to Russian soldiers.

Russia is intent on capturing Bakhmut – a city now in ruins and once known for its sparkling wine – as part of its broader goal of capturing the entire Donetsk region.

But both Ukrainian and Russian forces reported heavy casualties in the struggle for control of the city, whose symbolic significance outweighs its military importance.

The head of the Russian mercenary group, Wagner, said on Friday that its forces had “practically surrounded” Bakhmut, which witnessed some of the fiercest battles in the conquest of Moscow.

On Friday, Yevgeny Prigozhin said in a video posted to Telegram that there was “one road left” to be taken.

The 61-year-old said in recent weeks that his fighters had captured three villages northeast of Bakhmut – Yagedny, Berkhivka and Paraskovivka.

Ukraine has said it will defend the “Fortress of Bakhmut” for as long as possible, but officials said this week the situation is difficult.

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