US comments on Zelenskyy's decision to stay in Bakhmut.

US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin explained on Wednesday what he meant by the small strategic value of Bakhmut, Donetsk Oblast, which Russian forces have been trying to capture for a long time, and assured Ukraine of support regardless of what decision it makes regarding the defence of the city.

The Pentagon’s chief first of all emphasised the bravery and perseverance of Ukrainian soldiers who "did amazing things in Bakhmut". "The Russians have been trying to capture Bakhmut for seven months or so and haven't been very successful," he added.

"As for the importance of Bakhmut, I would point to the fact that it is President Zelenskyy who decides what is important and what needs to be redeployed. If he decides at some point in time to redeploy forces (from Bakhmut - ed.), it will probably mean that he is doing it to maintain an advantage," Austin commented.

"But whether (Ukrainian forces - ed.) stay there or not and how long they stay there is President Zelenskyy's decision and no one else's. And again, our goal is to make sure that we support him no matter what the decision on the battlefield is," he emphasised.

The US Secretary of Defence added that Ukraine's allies are currently working on military support, which he hopes will give Ukraine "an opportunity to change the dynamics on the battlefield".

US Secretary of Defence reveals what he told Shoigu after drone incident.

Lloyd Austin, the United States Secretary of Defence, has said that in a telephone conversation with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Shoigu, he stated that Russia is obliged to fly its military aircraft safely and professionally.

"I have just had a telephone conversation with my Russian counterpart, Minister Shoigu. As I have often said, great powers must serve as models of transparency and communication. And the United States will continue to fly and act in accordance with international law," the US Secretary of Defence said.

Energy system operates with power reserve.

On Wednesday, the power grid continues to operate with almost no limitations to consumers and has a power reserve, with short-term outages possible in Zhytomyr and Kyiv oblasts.

Press service of the Ministry of Energy, citing Minister Herman Halushchenk noted that as a result of damage to the power grid and its repairs, short-term power outages are possible in some oblasts, in particular in Zhytomyr and Kyiv oblasts.

Over the past day, power supply has been restored to the districts of Zaporizhzhia and Dnipro oblasts affected by Russian attacks.