11.4 C
Tuesday, June 6, 2023
HomeWorldPhotos: The fight for Bakhmut

Photos: The fight for Bakhmut


Ukrainian military leaders are determined to hold Bakhmut, Kiev officials said Monday, even as Russian troops continued to push into the devastated eastern Ukrainian city they spent months trying to capture at the cost of thousands of lives.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office said he chaired a meeting with military officials in which the country’s top leadership advocated strengthening Ukrainian positions there.

Intense Russian shelling targeted the city of Donetsk and nearby villages, while Moscow deployed more resources there in an apparent attempt to end Bakhmut’s resistance, local officials said.

“Citizens are fleeing the region to escape 24-hour Russian shelling as additional Russian troops and weapons are deployed,” Donetsk governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said.

Russian forces that invaded Ukraine just over a year ago have been attacking Bakhmut since August, leaving Kiev’s troops on the defensive but unable to deliver a knockout blow.

Some analysts say the potential fall is unlikely to bring a turning point to the conflict.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin endorsed that view Monday, saying during a visit to Jordan that Bakhmut “has more of a symbolic value than … strategic and operational value”.

In recent days, Ukrainian units have destroyed two key bridges just outside Bakhmut, including one connecting it to the nearby town of Chasiv Yar along the last remaining Ukrainian supply route, according to British military intelligence officials and other Western analysts.

Demolition of the bridges could be part of efforts to slow down the Russian offensive as Ukrainian troops withdraw from the city.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the millionaire and owner of the Wagner Group military company spearheading the Bakhmut offensive, is at odds with the Russian Defense Ministry, repeatedly accusing it of not supplying its troops with ammunition.

On Sunday, he again criticized the military’s top ranks for being slow to deliver the promised ammunition, questioning whether the delay was caused “by bureaucratic red tape or betrayal”.

Putin’s ambition is to take full control of the four provinces, including Donetsk, which Moscow illegally annexed last year. Russia controls about half of Donetsk province, and to take the remaining half of that province, its troops must pass through Bakhmut.

Ukraine and its Western allies do not recognize any of Russia’s annexation moves, dismissing them as futile attempts to seize land.

Bakhmut has been the only way to reach larger Ukrainian-held cities since Ukrainian forces took back Izyum in Kharkiv province in a counter-offensive last September.

Bakhmut has taken on an almost mythical meaning for its defenders.

It’s just become Mariupol – the port city in the same province that Russia captured after an 82-day siege that ultimately came down to a giant steel mill where determined Ukrainian fighters held out alongside civilians.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

Latest stories