New footage from the front line in Ukraine shows fierce fighting between Russian forces and entrenched defenders on the disputed ‘last way out of Bakhmut’.
the section The Ukrainian Volunteer Corps “Da Vinci Wolves” is shown suppressing Russian forces attempting to cross restricted territory and assault a fortified position.
Ukrainian forces are seen to recover quickly from a grenade blast at the opening of the crater, assessing casualties and reporting that “orcs jumped into our trenches”.
With little cover, they emerge to quell the advance of the Russians, taking up positions around dugouts and firing at targets as they creep away.
After months of fierce fighting around the symbolically imported city of Bakhmut, the end of winter is expected to mark a decisive juncture in the war – despite reports that both sides are facing challenges with equipment and replenishment lines.
Image of a Ukrainian soldier digging as troops reflect on a dead soldier
An explosion suddenly shakes the ditch, causing the soldier to fall at the mouth of the ditch
Soldiers check casualties and report the attack before preparing for engagement
The video, originally 11 minutes long, begins with Ukrainian forces being removed from an open plot of land. Around the bunker are dead and dying trees. Smoke rising in the distance.
The troops – purportedly among the best trained and equipped squads of volunteers – enter a bunker in the grounds and talk to Allied soldiers. The fallen soldier is recognized as musing, “Yes, brother, that’s the way it is in war.”
The soldiers take a moment’s rest in the trench as one of them – later called ‘Lekha’ – digs into the ground at the mouth of the ditch. And apparently without warning, a grenade exploded nearby and Lekha fell flat on his stomach.
The peers check on Lekha and the camera cuts to someone radioing in the attack. They get to their feet and push their way out of the enclosed space as explosives fly overhead.
The photographer moves around the trench, behind a knoll of cover. From the heights, he targets a number of Russian soldiers in a prone position as they try to escape.
The Battle of Bakhmut has turned the city and its surroundings into a scene of hell for the past eight and a half months.
The city lies at an important intersection of supply routes, and when fighting began in May 2022, it was seen as a vital staging post for assaults deep into the Donbass.
Russian forces have also clung to the city’s symbolic importance after a series of setbacks last year.
In late 2022, as Ukrainian offensives retake territory in the country’s east, the front between Bakhmut and Solidar in the north becomes a major focus for both sides.
Russian bombardment of the city escalated in November last year as Russia managed to renew its lines. Soon both sides were being pushed back to dig into the fortified trenches.
Winter slowed the progress of both sides as the weather worsened and movement became more difficult.
In February, Russian soldiers began speaking out against the suicidal impulses of the Wagner Group’s mercenary forces, pushing forward in human waves under heavy artillery fire in scenes reminiscent of the Somme.
The push-ups would exact heavy losses for both Ukraine and the invading Russians, who were increasingly strengthening Sweep forces with a shield of ex-convicts.
An informed source, likely from within the Wagner Group, told the Russian criminal that groups of eight were advancing in waves. Each attack usually consists of four waves, but it can take up to 14 to take a disputed area, as seen in Solidar.
The source said the total losses often amount to a hundred or more in each department.
By March, a Russian tank battalion had apparently mutinied after being ordered to drive straight into a heavily fortified minefield, dubbed the “Corridor of Death”, on the Fuldar front line about three hours south of Bakhmut.
In April, Russia was seen building a 45-mile-long ‘mega trench’ visible from space along the southern region of Zaporizhzhia as it prepared for the Ukrainian counteroffensive.
The troops reported on the radio that the “goblins” had jumped into their trenches outside the city of Bakhmut
A grenade flies through the air as Ukrainian forces make their way out of the bunker
Explosives fly overhead as the troops emerge from the crater and quell the attack
One of the soldiers makes his way to a slightly elevated position and opens fire on the Russians
The soldier is seen reloading after shooting trapped soldiers in an empty lot near Bakhmut
Later in April, a leak of top-secret Pentagon files showed that US planners were skeptical about Ukraine’s ability to effectively launch a counter-attack expected in the spring.
They raised concerns about Ukraine’s ability to replenish exhausted lines and the rate at which defenders were burned with vital anti-aircraft munitions.
The leaks indicated that Ukraine would run out of S-300 anti-aircraft missiles by May 2, hampering the ability to push back the Russian advance.
Since March 2022, the Russian Air Force, the VKS, has not been able to operate effectively in Ukrainian airspace because air defenses are so widely deployed.
And Ukraine’s top military officials warn that could change, putting cities and power plants at risk, unless Ukraine receives aid from abroad.