The pro-Russian authorities in Donetsk announced that the Russian forces had tightened the strategic encirclement of the strategic city of Bakhmut, and while a US official told Al-Jazeera that the new aid package for Kiev would include precision missiles, Russian President Vladimir Putin demanded that Ukraine deter Ukraine's attempts to bomb the Russian lands bordering it.

This comes at a time when Poland has renewed its readiness to supply Ukraine with F-16 combat aircraft in the event of NATO approval, while Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticized the West for sending combat tanks to Ukraine. Ukraine.

Jan Gagin, an aide to the acting leader of Donetsk, a pro-Russian government, said Bakhmut was under a tight siege and battles were taking place for control of the highway southwest of the city.

But Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner private military group, which is fighting alongside the Russian forces, denied that the city of Bakhmut had been surrounded by "operations."

For its part, the Russian Defense Ministry said that its forces had taken control of important sites and destroyed a weapons and ammunition depot for Ukrainian forces in Donetsk.

On the other hand, a spokesman for the Ukrainian forces said that fierce fighting was taking place near Bakhmut, and that Russian forces bombed the area more than 150 times.

Earlier, Ukrainian military sources said that the battles are taking place in the east and north of the city of Bakhmut, and confirmed that despite the difficult situation, it is "under control."

For his part, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that the military situation in eastern Ukraine has become more difficult.

Zelensky's statement coincided with the statements of the mayor of Kramatorsk, in the east of the country, that the Russian bombing of the city tonight led to deaths and injuries.

Yesterday evening, the Ukrainian authorities announced that two people were killed and seven others were injured when a Russian missile hit a residential building in the city of Kramatorsk.

Kramatorsk is in the eastern region of Donetsk province, parts of which have been controlled by Kremlin-backed separatists, including its largest city, since 2014.

Moscow seeks to control the entire region after declaring it part of Russian territory last year.

Smart bombs

In a related context, a US official told Al-Jazeera that the new aid package to Ukraine will include ammunition for artillery, missiles for HIMARS launchers and precision missiles.

On the issue of supplying Ukraine with long-range missiles, he said that the matter has not yet been decided, pending President Joe Biden's signature on the aid package.

The Wall Street Journal said that the new package of US military aid to Ukraine may be announced the day after tomorrow, Friday, and is expected to include long-range "smart bombs" for the first time.

The newspaper pointed out that these small-diameter bombs are attached to missiles and are directed with great precision, and can be launched with missile launchers such as the HIMARS system.

Those missiles can hit targets more than 150 kilometers away, nearly twice the range of the HIMARS missile system of 80 kilometers, which changed the course of the war when it was sent by Washington last summer.

This may mean that every inch of Ukrainian territory controlled by Russia, with the exception of most of the Crimean regions, could soon be within the range of Ukrainian forces' fire, and this forces Moscow to move some ammunition and fuel storage sites into Russian territory.

The Reuters news agency had quoted US officials as saying that the United States is preparing to provide a new security aid package to Kiev worth two billion and two hundred million dollars, and that it will include, for the first time, long-range missiles.

Moscow replied

On the other hand, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov played down the importance of Washington providing Kyiv with long-range missiles, and said that it would not change anything in the course of this process.

But he added that supplying Kyiv with this type of missile would escalate the level of conflict.

Peskov assured reporters that the entire military infrastructure of NATO, including satellites, works in favor of Ukraine against Russia, and that his country will continue the special military operation as the main goal.

Earlier on Wednesday, Putin said Moscow's main task was to stop and deter any attempts by Ukraine to bomb neighboring Russian territories.

Putin added, in a meeting on ways to rebuild the infrastructure in the Russian lands bordering Ukraine, that the Russian government has reached solutions to support those areas.

In a related context, the Russian Foreign Ministry denounced statements by French President Emmanuel Macron, in which he said that providing Ukraine with specific weapons does not constitute an escalation of the conflict, and that "nothing is excluded in principle," in response to a question about the possibility of sending fighters to Kyiv.

"This is absurd. Does the French president really believe that sending heavy weapons and aircraft to the Kyiv regime will not lead to an escalation of the situation?" said Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova during a press conference.

Polish position

In eastern Europe, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki expressed, on Wednesday, his country's readiness to provide Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets if the Western allies took a unanimous decision to do so.

Morawiecki said in an interview with the German newspaper "Bild", "If this were the decision of the entire North Atlantic Treaty Organization, I would be in favor of sending these combat aircraft."

Morawiecki pointed out that the Western allies must coordinate any step to send fighter jets because this is a very dangerous war and Poland does not participate in it, as well as NATO, explaining that the decision needs strategic research from NATO as a whole.

Western countries have only recently agreed to send advanced tanks to Ukraine, but Kyiv insists on providing it with F-16 aircraft to help defeat the Russian invasion.

The United States has now ruled out sending F-16 fighters to Ukraine, but other partners are open to the idea.

Slovakia has expressed its willingness to send Russian-made MiG-29 fighter jets, while Dutch politicians have recently floated the idea of ​​sending F-16s.

The decision to send Western-made battle tanks came after months of pressure from Kyiv, and weeks of intense discussions between Western partners.

The decisive moment came last January when Berlin agreed to send Leopard tanks to Kyiv under pressure from the Allies, especially Poland.

Morawiecki said Berlin's Ukraine policy had increased "distrust" of Germany, especially of "central and eastern European countries".

He added that Germany has the ability to provide much more support than it has provided so far, and it has the authority to make decisions within the European Union, and it can grant funding to Ukraine, in addition to its diplomatic power.

Erdogan's concerns

For his part, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that sending Western countries tanks to Ukraine is fraught with risks and beneficial to arms barons.

Erdogan indicated in an interview on the official "TRT" channels yesterday, Wednesday, that he sees sending tanks to Ukraine as a risky act and will not contribute to resolving the crisis.

The Turkish president stressed the importance of supporting the talks between Russia and Ukraine with the aim of a cease-fire and a just solution to the crisis.