By “Russian forces,” he means “Wagner mercenaries.” The Wagnerites have been obsessed with Bakhmut for no other reason than “this is the only place where anything Russia is advancing.” It’s personal PR. Except losing two months worth of gains isn’t advertising much.
As always, none of this matters. Thousands are dying for a strategically insignificant piece of land. And I include Ukraine in this—there’s a river that runs through the eastern one-third of the city, essentially the industrial district. All of it is flattened, so it has no value to anyone. So why wouldn’t Ukraine simply fall back behind a river Wagner has zero chance of ever crossing? But like Severodonetsk, Ukraine has a policy of surrendering nothing without a fight.
One of the most predictable and ironic traits of Donald Trump and his cult followers is that they pretend to be passionately patriotic, while actually acting adversely to American interests and finding fault with everything the nation does if it isn't in direct alignment with the whims of Trump.
Trump himself demonstrated this crackpot quirk during an interview with Fox News Trump-fluffer, Brian Kilmeade. The topic was the Russian war against Ukraine. The entire Western alliance of free nations is united in supporting Ukraine against Russia's aggression. So is President Biden and the Democratic Party. So naturally, Trump has taken a knee-jerk opposition to the pro-Ukraine stance and is, as usual, backing his hero, Vladimir Putin.
The conversation Trump had with his media minion Kilmeade revealed once again that Trump's sympathies lie with America's enemies. He has proven, as he invariably does, his devotion to the "America First" doctrine that he rants about incessantly. To clarify, that's the "Blame America First" doctrine. He began by exposing his pitiful ignorance of world affairs...
First of all, Trump is apparently unaware that Ukraine's much smaller military is winning this war against Russia. What's worse is that he is almost sanctioning the prospect of Russia using nuclear weapons. Trump's infantile speech patterns have him repeatedly referring to the "N" word, as if it were naughty. And he thinks that people have a problem with discussions about nuclear weapons, that he thinks should never be mentioned.
Trump also told Kilmeade about something that "I'm reading somewhere," that said "there's at least a 40% chance that [Putin will] use nuclear weapons." Notice that he didn't say where he allegedly read that. Suffice to say that it was either in the QAnon Daily News, or on a cocktail napkin handed to him by his chief foreign affairs advisors, Michael Flynn and Steve Bannon.
The most repulsive part of Trump's comments, however, were his closing remarks where he said that the threat of Russia escalating the war into a nuclear conflict was "because of the United States." Because blaming America is always Trump's first inclination. And he has worshipfully demonstrated for the past six years that he would never attribute anything negative to his Moscow messiah.