Ukraine battles Russian advance in key town of Bakhmut | Russia-Ukraine war News

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Ukraine blocks Russian advance in Bakhmut, Donetsk region

Ukrainian soldiers defend the eastern industrial city of Bakhmut as separatists in the war-torn Donetsk region advance after recapturing a series of nearby villages.

Once home to 70,000 inhabitants, Bakhmut, a wine-growing and salt-mining town on the main road from Donetsk to the capital Kyiv, is a major prize if Russia has any hope of securing the region after its invasion. will be Ukraine in February.

Heavy artillery fire was heard from the direction of Otradovka, Veselaya Dolina and Zaitsevo. They now appear to be in the hands of forces loyal to the separatist Donetsk People’s Republic, which is annexed by Russia.

A Ukrainian artillery commander named Serhiy told Al Jazeera that Ukrainian soldiers were in Bahmut “because it is an important point”.

“Our task is to destroy the batteries in manning concentrations and firing ranges,” he said.

Explosions echoed through the empty streets of Bakhmut during a Ukrainian military patrol.

Another Ukrainian soldier called Nikolai said the Russians were “throwing their entire army on the town.”

“Artillery, air forces and even helicopters are attacking our positions,” Nikolai said. “They try to approach day and night. And it’s their elite forces and mercenaries. There are no regular Russian soldiers left.”

“Deadly hide and seek game”

The Ukrainian army in recent weeks has pushed back by the Russian army Across the southern and eastern fronts, including part of Donetsk. Western weapons have helped the Ukrainian army regain more territory in the past month than the Russian army gained in his five months.

But Bakhmut’s defense remains one of Ukraine’s biggest challenges on the Eastern Front.

Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford, in a report by the Bahmut newspaper, described the situation as a “deadly game of hide-and-seek” and both sides launched attacks.

Pointing to mobilized artillery targeting Russian supply and artillery positions 30 km (12 miles) from Bakhmut, Stratford notes, “It takes about 40 seconds for a shell to reach its target. Adjustments will be made after receiving information from drones and spotters monitoring the zone.”

Russian shelling has continued in Bakhmut for weeks, forcing most people to evacuate.

“The shelling never stops,” said a local woman from the town. “I am here to take care of her mother. She is old and frail. Things got worse.”

“How can we leave?”

The stranded inhabitants of Bahumut are trying to stockpile some meager food and water before the battle begins.

Igor Maksimenko’s water bottle leaked when it rolled off the wire trolley, but he decided to fix it and take it to the apartment where 25 people still live.

“Sometimes they [Russian-backed forces] There was a fire right in the shop, just above our heads, and the debris was mixed with splashes of dirt strewn everywhere,” he said. “But we still have it. How can we leave? Where?”

Ukraine gained territory with lightning speed in the East and South. On September 30, Ukrainian forces advancing from the occupied town of Izyum laid siege to the strategically important town of Raiman in the eastern Donetsk region. grabbed it The day after the Russian personnel withdrew.

The advance of Ukrainian forces has undermined the Kremlin’s claims that it officially annexed Donetsk, neighboring Luhansk, Zaporizhia and the southern regions of Kherson last week.

These four territories form an important land corridor between Russia and Crimea, which was annexed by Moscow in 2014, and together account for about 20% of Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin last month ordered the partial mobilization of Russian military reservists to bolster Ukraine’s frontline personnel.

Under mounting pressure from his own supporters and others, Putin continued to reshuffle the military leadership. The state news agency TASS reported that a new commander was stationed in Russia’s eastern military district.

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