Fall of Bakhmut would not mean Russia has turned tide of war – Pentagon chief

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By Idrees Ali AMMAN (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Monday that the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut was of more symbolic than operational importance, and its fall would not necessarily mean that Moscow had regained the initiative in the war. The battle for Bakhmut has raged for seven months. A Russian victory in the city, which had a pre-war population of about 70,000 but has now been blasted to ruins, would give Moscow the first major prize in a costly winter offensive. “I think it is more of a symbolic value than it is strategic and operational value,” Austin told r…

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