US President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr ZelenskyInternationalIndiaAfricaMOSCOW (Sputnik) – Cracks in the relations between Ukraine and the US are beginning to appear behind the scenes over the Ukraine-Russia conflict and the modalities of its end, with Washington and Kiev seemingly disagreeing on the defense of the town of Artemovsk, re-capture of Crimea and the Nord Stream sabotage, a newspaper reported on Sunday. Even though US President Joe Biden paid a surprise visit to Kiev on February 20 in a show of unity and solidarity with Ukraine, “new points of tension” are emerging, the report said, citing officials. According to the report, numerous US administration officials are worried that Kiev is spending too much manpower and ammunition to defend Artemovsk, known in Ukraine by its pre-Soviet name Bakhmut, a town that “is more of a symbolic value than it is a strategic and operational value,” as US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin put it. Fears are mounting that Ukraine’s heavy losses in Bakhmut may weaken the army’s capacity to launch a reported counteroffensive in the spring, the newspaper said. Russia’s Special Operation in UkraineRamstein Summit Showed Lack of Unity, Unclear Goals & No Post-War Ukraine Plan, Military Experts Say21 January, 17:43 GMTFurthermore, the recent report claiming that intelligence suggested involvement of a “pro-Ukrainian group” in the Nord Stream incidents prompted the Biden administration to signal to Kiev that “certain acts of violence” outside of Ukraine’s borders would not be tolerated. Another point of crisis between Washington and Kiev is Ukraine’s insistence that Crimea should be recaptured, something that the Pentagon sees as unrealistic given Russia’s entrenched position there. Nord Stream SabotageUS Only Nation That Could Have Bombed Nord Stream, Ex-Senator Says7 March, 18:02 GMTThe hotly contested Artemovsk, located north of the city of Donetsk, has been the center of hostilities in Donbass for months now with both Russia and Ukraine pumping it with weapons and military personnel. For Donbass, the city is an important transport hub with many crossroads, which previously served as a vital center for supplying Ukrainian troops stationed in the region at the beginning of the military operation launched by Russia in Ukraine a year ago. However, over the past two months, the situation has come closer to a complete encirclement of the city by Russian troops.