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Russia's Special Operation in Ukraine
On February 24, 2022, Russia launched its special military operation in Ukraine, aiming to liberate and defend the inhabitants of the Donbass region, where people have been suffering from a blockade and regular attacks by the Kiev regime's forces since 2014.

Ukraine's Best Response After Losing Artemovsk Would Be to Seek Peace: Ex-US State Senator

© Sputnik . Viktor Antonyuk / Go to the mediabankPMC near Artemovsk in the Donetsk People's Republic
PMC near Artemovsk in the Donetsk People's Republic - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 23.05.2023
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky will face pressure to launch a new offensive after Russian forces captured the city of Artemovsk, also known as Bakhmut, but he would be wiser to seek peace and avoid further casualties, former Virginia State Senator Richard Black told Sputnik.
"Russia has won the biggest battle in Europe since World War II," Black said. "Western media were hesitant to acknowledge Ukraine’s defeat, but it appears that Zelensky lost the city after sustaining crushing losses of manpower and armor. Those losses will pressure Zelensky to launch an offensive to prove he still has combat power, though a wiser path might be to seek peace and stop further bloodshed."
On Saturday, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement that the liberation of the city of Artemovsk has been completed. Zelensky admitted the loss, though later his office retracted the statement.

"Throughout the struggle, [Prigozhin's] cautious battle assessments proved prescient. He refused to claim complete victory prematurely, often predicting that the fall of the city remained weeks away," Black noted. "Though some stragglers remain in Bakhmut, it appears that most are withdrawing or being driven out. Ukraine continues denying the city’s fall, but the areas it holds are trivial; Russia is conducting mopping-up operations at this point."

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks by video conference to officials from Crimea, March 17, 2023. - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 21.05.2023
Russia's Special Operation in Ukraine
Putin Congratulates Russian Forces on Liberation of Artemovsk
Black went on to say that while casualties were enormous on both sides, the losses pose a greater problem for Ukraine, since its population is only a quarter that of Russia’s.
"It is unclear whether the loss of Bakhmut will impact Ukraine's supposed spring offensive, which has appeared imminent for weeks," he added. "Meanwhile, President Zelensky continues his global trips to solicit advanced weapons, none of which has thus far impacted the tide of battle dramatically."
Black pointed out that throughout the struggle for Artemovsk, Western media alternated between dismissing the objective as unimportant or claiming that Ukraine had drawn Russia’s Wagner forces into a treacherous killing ground.
"Others recognized that Bakhmut does have considerable strategic value, a fact underscored by Ukraine’s willingness to suffer enormous casualties in its defense," he said. "Beyond that, Ukraine’s defeat in the epic battle holds great political significance in a presidential election year."
On Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated the Wagner Group and the Russian armed forces on the liberation of Artemovsk.
The hotly contested city, located north of the city of Donetsk, has been the center of hostilities between Russia and Ukraine for months. Artemovsk is an important transport hub, and prior to Russia's special operation in Ukraine, the city served as a vital center for supplying Ukrainian troops in the region.
Retired Colonel Richard Black was wounded in fierce fighting during the Vietnam War. He flew 269 combat missions as a Marine helicopter pilot, then made 70 ground patrols with the 1st Marine Division. He was a prominent elected member of the Virginia House and Senate.