Battle for Bachmut: “They send attack wave after attack wave”

Status: 03/03/2023 3:40 p.m

The situation in Bakhmut is becoming increasingly desperate for the Ukrainian defenders. The Russian army is constantly sending new soldiers into the battle for the bullet-riddled city. 5,000 civilians are still holding out there – including about 40 children.

By Andrea Beer, ARD Studio Kiev

The bitter battle for Bakhmut is the most intense since the start of the major Russian invasion a good year ago. There the Russian army and Wagner mercenaries continue to attack from three sides. According to Ukrainian data, the occupiers control the east of the Bakhmutka River and are trying to gain control of the road to the west, towards the village of Kostyantynivka. The withdrawal of the Ukrainian army from the embattled city in the Donbas seems to be getting closer.

“Hello – this is Magjar in touch again” – this is how the commander of a reconnaissance group of the 59th brigade with the combat name Magjar begins a video that he published on Telegram. He says he was ordered to withdraw:

Today, on the night of March 2, the “birds of Magyar” received an order to withdraw immediately from Bakhmut to another location. What are the reasons for that? After we’ve spent 110 days fighting here? I am primarily a soldier, so I will not comment on the orders of the Bakhmut Defense Squad.

He had promised himself and them not to engage in politics. There is no politics in the army and there cannot be.

Russian soldiers come like an assembly line

The city of Bakhmut has been fought over for months, and the Ukrainian side is under a lot of pressure there, according to the renowned Kiev military expert Oleg Zhdanov. He analyzes the Russian attacks on his YouTube channel as follows: “The onslaught of the Russian troops can be described as very strong. They send wave after wave of attacks, put soldiers on trucks and pick up the wounded and dead on the same trucks.” It’s like on an assembly line, so continuously and around the clock. “This is the pressure that the Russian command organized against our positions.”

Should the Russian attackers actually be able to conquer Bakhmut militarily, it would have serious consequences for Kiev and it would be a costly but important victory for Moscow. After Soledar in January, another city in the Donbass, Bakhmut, would fall into Russian hands.

Among other things, the attack on the two large Donbas cities of Kramatorsk and Sloviansk could then be planned next, so the great concern in Ukraine. In large parts, Bachmut resembles a ghost town. Bulleted, blackened houses and trees offer a picture of destruction.

Bachmut: Bulleted-up, blackened houses offer a picture of destruction.

Image: dpa

5000 people still live in Bachmut – including about 40 children

75,000 people used to live in the city in the Donetsk region – now around 5,000 civilians are still holding out there – including around 40 children. Minister Irina Vereshchuk, responsible for the Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine, emphasized that children cannot be evacuated against the will of parents: “My position is that the state, the police and the guardianship bodies of the Donetsk regional military administration should have an instrument to to do everything possible so that children do not remain in the territory where there is active hostilities.

The police said they are still trying to evacuate people from Bakhmut. It is unclear how many more they can save from there. Because the battle for the city of Bakhmut could be lost for Ukraine.

How is the situation in Bakhmut / Donbas

Andrea Beer, ARD Kiev, March 3, 2023 12:28 p.m

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