Russian military appears to lose control in tank
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In the struggle for the eastern city of Bakhmut, Ukrainian troops contend that they are up against a zombie-like army up to ten times as big as theirs. Bakhmut has once again become one of the epicentres of the war, being one of the few front lines in Ukraine where Russia remains on the offensive. Fierce battles are also raging in Vuhledar in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region as Russia intensifies pressure before the first anniversary of its invasion of the country, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said.
Fierce fighting has turned the well-liked tourist site into ruins, with its 80,000 pre-war residents reduced to about 7,000 brave people who have chosen to stay despite the area being levelled by carpet bombing and hollowed down by artillery fire.
The conflict has become so deadly in the east, a Ukrainian journalist who spoke to soldiers in the city’s front lines of combat reportedly claimed they told her: “The average lifespan for mobilised fighters in Bakhmut is four hours.”
Despite repeated Russian offensives, locals have remained resolute in their decision to stay, with Bakhmut-born Nadiya Burdinska telling France24: “Only a dummy wouldn’t be afraid.”
She added: “Everything is possible… if God wants it, I’ll stay alive.”
There is no phone service, most cars have been destroyed, and Russia has relentlessly targeted their energy and service infrastructure. Most residents have been without running water for over a year.
Ukrainian soldier Andriy told CNN: “We were fighting for about 10 hours in a row. And it wasn’t like just waves, it was uninterrupted. So it was just like they didn’t stop coming. It was about 20 soldiers on our side. And let’s say 200 from their side.”
He compared fighting the convict army to a zombie movie scene, adding: “They’re climbing above the corpse of their friends, stepping on them.”
Andriy said that a machine gunner was astounded to discover that when he shot at them, they kept moving until they bled out.
“It looks like it’s very, very likely that they are getting some drugs before they attack,” he said.
Petro Voloschenko, a Ukrainian soldier, told the AP about the fighting: “Right now, there aren’t enough words to explain it; it’s hell on earth.”
The 44-year-old Voloschenko is a native of Kyiv and has spent several months in the city, calling it “a symbol of Ukrainian invincibility.”
“Bakhmut is the heart of Ukraine, and the future peace of those cities that are no longer under occupation depends on the rhythm with which it beats.”
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of Wagner and Putin’s lapdog, shut down rumours that Ukrainian soldiers were fleeing the city by making a rare admission of reality in a Telegram post.
He confirmed in a statement: “The Ukrainian armed forces are not retreating. They are fighting up to the last ditch… there are fierce battles for every street, every house, every stairwell”.
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The British defence ministry stated that Russia has made “small advances” in its quest to encircle the city but military analysts claim Bakhmut is close to a tipping point.
The fierce fighting comes as Ukrainian officials are bracing themselves for what it believes would be a Russian spring onslaught to mark the anniversary of its invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
500,000 conscripted soldiers are reportedly gathering on the border in preparation for an assault on the eastern and southern fronts, according to sources from Ukraine’s military intelligence.
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