war in Ukra war in Ukra  (AFP or licensors)

Britain: 'Ukrainian troops forced to withdraw from positions'

British intelligence officials have warned that Ukrainian troops had been forced to withdraw from vital front positions amid a barrage of Russian attacks. The comments came as Britain's prime minister denounced a video allegedly showing the beheading of a Ukrainian prisoner of war.

By Stefan J. Bos  

Britain's Ministry of Defence said Ukrainian troops had to make 'orderly withdrawals' from positions they previously held in the highly contested town of Bakhmut.

The well-informed Ministry confirmed that the last two days saw an intense artillery bombardment from Russian forces around the devastated eastern city.

Earlier, a visibly moved Ukrainian soldier Roman Trokhymets witnessed suffering in the trenches of Bakhmut. "It is very hard; we have one injured hero," he says in a video message from the battlefield while a wounded person receives medical attention. "We have an amazing medic," he adds, heavily breathing from anxiety as explosions are heard nearby. "He [the medic] literally saved his life in a few minutes," Trokhymets explains.

"Now we are waiting to evacuate him from the battlefield. So this is how we fight. It's not like some movie. It's our reality," he adds about Europe's largest battle since World War Two. "[We fight] because one terrorist state tries to invade another country,"  Trokhymets says, referring to Russia.      

He spoke before more atrocities were revealed. Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak expressed outrage on Friday over video footage purportedly showing Russian forces' beheading of a Ukrainian prisoner of war.

Yet leaked U.S. documents also revealed suffering for Russia's military, with Russian intelligence sources accusing the defense ministry of undercounting war casualties in Ukraine.

Listen to the report:

The FSB's reported calculation of almost 110,000 casualties by February is still far lower than numbers in previously leaked U.S. documents this week.

They estimated Russian losses at between 189,500 and 223,000 casualties, including up to 43,000 men killed in action.

China has come under Western pressure to encourage its ally Russia to stop fighting.

On Friday, China's foreign minister said the country would not sell weapons to parties involved in the conflict in Ukraine.

Qin Gang also told his visiting German counterpart Annalena Baerbock that China would regulate the export of items with dual civilian and military use.

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14 April 2023, 15:47