Ukrainian soldiers sent to defend Bakhmut ‘fear they are being sent to their deaths’
Ukrainian soldiers fighting in Bakhmut fear “they are being sent to their deaths” amid a relentless push by Russian forces to capture a city.
Putin’s forces are said to outnumber Ukrainians by two or three times on the Bakhmut front, where an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 troops are currently fighting.
The relentless Russian bombardment has ravaged the city with soldiers fighting house-to-house battles in the ruins.
“When they drive us to Bakhmut, I already know I’m being sent to death,” a Ukrainian soldier named Volodymyr told the Kyiv Independent.
The 54 year-old, an infantryman from the 93rd Mechanized Brigade, said he struggled to eat after fighting for months.
“(The Russians) keep firing at us, but we don’t have artillery,” he said. “So we have nothing to attack them back with. I don’t know if I will return or not. We are just getting killed.”
Both Russia and Ukraine have claimed successes during the seven months of fighting in the city.
It has become the longest-running battle since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine more than a year ago.
Ukrainian soldiers said they see fighting in Bakhmut as a desperate survival challenge against Russia’s “infinite” stocks of artillery munitions and manpower.
Volodymyr is haunted by a 29-year-old soldier he found dead after he was hit by shrapnel.
“I knew he was dead, but I just kept wrapping his head (with bandages),” he told the Kyiv Independent.
Russian troops first attempted to recapture Bakhmut in early August but were pushed back.
The fighting abated in the following months as the Russian military faced Ukrainian counteroffensives in the east and the south, but it resumed at full pace late last year. In January, the Russians captured the salt-mining town of Soledar just a few kilometers (miles) north of Bakhmut and advanced to the city’s suburbs.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has vowed to defend the city against Russian troops.
But Sergeant Mykola has warned that if Russia keeps up its current pace of attacks, “it could be a few weeks, and that’s it,” until Ukrainian troops are pushed out.
“The situation is now very difficult because they have already felt the taste (of victory in Bakhmut),” Mykola said. “And now they know that there is only a little bit left.”