Sunday, April 2, 2023

Russian forces bombard Ukraine’s Bakhmut

The city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine was coming heavy Russian artillery fire on Monday as Ukrainian forces there braced for possible ground attacks, Ukrainian military officials said. Positions in Bakhmut have been fortified and only people with a military role were being allowed in, a deputy battalion commander said. Any civilians who still wanted to leave the city would have to brave the incoming fire, he said.
Bakhmut, in the Donetsk region, is a major objective for Russian President Vladimir Putin and months of Russian shelling have already left much of it in ruins. With the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion approaching and a big new Kremlin offensive anticipated, the situation there has become even more acute.
“The city, the city’s suburbs, the entire perimeter, and essentially the entire Bakhmut direction and Kostyantynivka are under crazy, chaotic shelling,” said Volodymyr Nazarenko, deputy commander of Ukraine’s Soboda battalion.
“Every road is being shelled by artillery in a chaotic way.”
Nazarenko said that although no fighting was taking place in the city centre right now, the defenders were prepared to meet any assault.
“The city is a fortress, every position and every street there, almost every building, is a fortress,” he said.
The capture of Bakhmut would give Putin a new foothold in the Donetsk region and a rare victory after several months of setbacks. The Russian assault has been spearheaded by mercenaries of the Wagner group, who have made small but steady gains.
Donetsk and Luhansk regions make up the Donbas, Ukraine’s industrial heartland. Russia partially occupies it and wants to win full control.
Earlier on Monday, the Russian defence ministry said its troops had pushed forward a few kilometres along the frontlines, without specifying exactly where in a war zone that encompasses several regions in the south and east.
The Ukrainian military reported Russian shelling all along the frontline and said 16 settlements had been bombarded near Bakhmut. It said that over the past day, its forces had repelled a number of attacks near Bakhmut as well as assaults in Kharkiv, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia regions.


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