Russia’s Hopes for Victory in Ukraine Revealed at Battle of Bakhmut

BAKMUT, UKRAINE (AP) — Russian soldiers firing artillery into a city in eastern Ukraine seize Bakhmut, which remained in Ukrainian hands during the eight-month war, despite the goal of capturing Moscow. Trying, slowly approaching. The entire Donbass region borders with Russia.

in the meantime lots of fighting The fighting around Bakhmut, which took place last month in the Kherson region of southern Ukraine, has been followed by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s The desire to make tangible gains after several weeks of apparent setbacks in Ukraine.

take bahmut Cut Ukrainian supply lines and open a route for Russian troops to advance towards Kramatorsk and Sloviansk, the main Ukrainian strongholds in Donetsk Oblast. dominate some.

Before invading Ukraine, Putin recognized the independence of the rebels’ self-proclaimed republic. Last month he illegally annexed Donetsk, Luhansk and two other of his provinces occupied or nearly occupied by Russian forces.

Russia hit Bakhmut with a rocket for more than 5 months.Ground attack accelerated after his forces forced Ukrainians Withdrawal from Luhansk in July. The line of communication is now on the outskirts of the city. Mercenaries from the Wagner Group, a Russian shadow military company, are reported to be leading the attack.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly address to the nation this week that Russia’s long-running push against Bakhmut exposed Moscow’s “madness.”

“Every day, for months, they have been killing people there and concentrating the greatest force of artillery fire there,” Zelensky said.

At least three people were killed in the shelling between Wednesday and Thursday, local officials said.

Ukrainian forces fired mortars and artillery to repel Russian forces within 5 kilometers (3 miles) by early Thursday morning, according to the War Research Institute, a Washington think tank.

Russia needs a victory in Bakhmut after last month’s Ukrainian counterattack failed to control much of northeast Kharkiv and its position in Kherson has deteriorated. The area was one of the first to be occupied by Russian forces after the February 24th invasion of Ukraine.

“Russian suffering will be defeated on all sides. We need it.London-based defense and security think tank.

The Wagner Group played a key role in the war, and human rights groups have accused Wagner Group soldiers of committing atrocities. Their placement around Bakhmut reflects the city’s strategic importance to Moscow. However, according to Ramani, it is unclear whether the mercenaries are making much tangible profit.

“We see situations where Wagner groups are very effective in instilling fear in the local population, but not so effective in actually capturing and holding territory,” he said. At best, they are heading towards Bakmut at a kilometer (0.6 miles) a week, he said.

While in the city this week, an Associated Press journalist saw people struggling to survive amid the cacophony of burnt-out cars, destroyed buildings and constant artillery fire. In Bakhmut he has had no electricity or water for a month and residents are worried about heating their homes as temperatures drop.

“We hoped that this war would end or that we would have a better environment to live in. But since last month things have been terrible,” said resident Leonid Tarasov said.

Few shops are open. AP saw people cooking on the streets with firewood and drawing water from wells.

About 90% of Bakhmut’s pre-war population of about 73,000 have left the city, according to Donetsk Governor Pavlo Kirilenko.

Roman Zhirenkov, a volunteer with the local aid group Vostok-SOS, said some of those asked to evacuate from areas too dangerous for volunteers and soldiers to reach due to the fighting had remained in recent days. ing.

Others feel trapped.

“People who left their homes came to live with their children and brothers and sisters. They had a place to go,” said Ilona Elhilieva, stirring soup over an open fire by the side of the road. But we have nowhere to go, and that’s why we’re here.”


Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine.