BAKHMUT Located in eastern Ukraine, Bakhmut and the neighboring villages have become the most fierce front line of the Ukrainian war.
Elsewhere, Russia is forced to retreat, but in Bakhmut the effort is forward.
Ukraine’s defense has been holding out for a couple of months of fierce fighting. It is estimated that up to ten thousand people live in Bakhmut, despite the fighting.
The Russian stations are less than a kilometer from the east side of Bakhmut. A large part of the houses have been destroyed by Russian fire. Residents say that there are bodies lying in some yards because no one is able to pick them up.
Still, a steady stream of people laboriously crosses the river to the west side of the city. They wade and climb with their trunks.
The only reason to come to the other side is for humanitarian aid, mostly food supplies.
– On the other side is an old man who can’t get over by himself. He is asking for humanitarian help, one of the women crossing the bridge shouts.
Russia bullied Bakhmut more and more fiercely
When Russia has captured cities, for example Mariupol, Volnovakha or Severodonetsk, it has been done using long-range artillery fire against civilian targets. Cities have been completely destroyed.
Also in Bakhmut, this is Russia’s desperate strategy.
When I last visited Bakhmut about a month ago, the situation was the same. This time there is only more gunfire. Judging by the sounds of the battles, all weapons are in use: artillery, rocket and mortar launchers.
I also hear a fighter jet in the sky, followed by explosions. Heavy clouds of smoke rise a couple of kilometers away.
Ukraine has tried to evacuate all civilians from Bakhmut, but there are always people who refuse to leave.
– Why would I leave? I live here, says one man.
– I have animals, says another.
For many, especially old people, leaving home is an overwhelming challenge mentally.
Eighty years old Give it says he dyes in his basement on the east side of town. He has just crossed the destroyed bridge.
– I could never have believed that I would be born in the middle of a war (World War II) and that I would die in a war when I was old.
The windows of his house have been destroyed, so the basement is the only escape.
– We have lost many people, civilians. I’ll stay in the basement when the shots are fired.
Anna says that she supports the Ukrainian forces.
– I have heard that Kadyrovtsya (the leader of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov troops) has died a lot. I support Ukraine’s victory, but I don’t know much about the situation because there is no electricity, heat or gas. The internet and phones don’t work either. I don’t even have a radio.
People still live in the destroyed apartment buildings
The situation in the western part of Bakhmut is almost as harsh. The houses in the medium-sized city are almost empty. Individual people still live in the destroyed apartment buildings.
A seller in one of the stores in the center has just been seriously wounded in a Russian attack.
There is a food delivery point in the center.
The man on the park bench is shocked. He has just lost his father.
– I want to thank the Ukrainian troops. My father died a week ago on the east side of town. The army also gave me a body and other supplies so that I could bury my father humanely, he says, clearly shocked.
Nadia leans on his bicycle. He has fled from the east side of the city to the west side.
– There is no life there, only destruction. Many of my acquaintances have died there.
– Just recently, a young family lost their lives. One of the dead was a young woman who was pregnant.
“Life here is really scary”
In the middle of the war, the jobs have gone. A retired man Skin is in line for food. Before that, he was waiting for his pension.
– We fled to this side of town. All our possessions were destroyed by fire after the strike. TV, appliances, house.
– The firing has only accelerated in recent weeks. I live with humanitarian aid, but life here is really scary, says Ihor.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin already announced in the spring that Russia’s goal is to take over the entire Donbas.
At that point, Russia had lost the battle for Kiev and withdrawn from almost all of northern Ukraine.
In the spring, Russia focused all its forces on eastern Ukraine, but has not succeeded in capturing the important cities of the Donetsk region. Instead, Russia has lost huge territories it had conquered, especially in Kharkiv.
Bakhmut, located north of the city of Donetsk, is indeed the only city that Russia is still trying to capture. Ukraine’s defense has still held.
More on the topic:
All in Ukraine: Ukrainian forces arrested a man suspected of being an enemy aide in Bakhmut – Russia has been trying to take over the city for months
Kupjansk was freed from Russian construction, and now the atrocities are revealed – the pipes turned into torture centers
The rumble of cannons interrupted ‘s reporter’s visit to the badly destroyed center of Kupiansk: “Now it’s close”
journalist Antti Kuronen at the Izjum mass grave: “Lemu is nauseating, some bodies show signs of torture”