In Ukraine’s bloodiest battle, where soldiers only have 4 HOURS of life expectancy when fighting “stunned” Russians
SOLDIERS fighting in Ukraine’s bloodiest battle have a life expectancy of just four hours when fighting “drugged” Russians.
In the Battle of Bakhmut, Ukrainian troops fight a supposedly zombie-like army that often outnumbers them 10 to 1.
Once a popular tourist destination, Bakhmut has fallen into disrepair.
Hollowed out by artillery fire, leveled by carpet bombing, the frozen ground carved by craters and ditches, Bakhmut will never return to its former glory.
The population of 80,000 before the war has shrunk to around 7,000 brave, mostly older residents who stayed behind.
They are now caught under a barrage of gunfire and explosions as Ukraine defends its fortress from a fierce Russian attack.
Nadiya Burdinska, born in Bakhmut and determined to stay, told France24: “Only a dummy wouldn’t be afraid.”
“Anything is possible…if God wills, I’ll live,” she said with a wry grin.
There is no signal, most cars have burned, and Russia has constantly targeted its energy and services infrastructure.
Most residents are without running water for most of the year.
And yet President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said at an EU summit on Saturday: “Nobody will give up Bakhmut. We will fight as long as we can. We regard Bakhmut as our stronghold.”
Zelensky pledged to defend Bakhmut, although stressing that the fighting was grueling “tough”.
After eight months of relentless fighting, Russia still has no control over the iconic city of Bakhmut to the east.
Both sides are firmly entrenched, and in scenes compared to the battlefields of World War I, an agonizingly slow progress has taken place that has cost a great many lives.
Exhausted Ukrainian forces have, albeit narrowly, held their “fortress” in the longest battle of the Ukrainian war. It is also the most symbolic.
For Russia to make any real progress in controlling the rest of the Donetsk region — one of four regions Putin brazenly claimed he had annexed in September — the Russian army must first capture Bakhmut.
But this eastern salt town has more than just military importance.
They fight to the last ditch… there is bitter fighting for every street, every house, every stairwell
Wagner group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin
Not only is it a much-needed victory to fuel a starved Russian propaganda machine — Putin hasn’t had a major victory on the battlefield since the summer — but it’s key to Russia’s political plans to break sentiment in Ukraine.
A Ukrainian reporter who spoke to soldiers fighting on the frontlines in the city reported that they told her: “The average lifespan of mobilized combatants in Bakhmut is four hours.”
A Ukrainian military official looked at them unperturbed and briefly discussed it. “I think it’s longer.”
Russia has the luxury of sheer manpower, backed by the Wagner Group, whose front wing is made up of largely ill-trained and ill-equipped convict recruits.
Ukrainian officials have described their role on the battlefield as “cannon fodder” — expendable soldiers who are sacrificed in the front waves while private militia special forces stay behind.
If they survive six months at the front, they will have secured their freedom. Many don’t.
“We fought for about 10 hours in a row. And it wasn’t just waves, it was non-stop. So it was like they didn’t stop coming,” a Ukrainian soldier named Andriy told CNN.
“There were about 20 soldiers on our side. And let’s say 200 from their side.”
He described the fight against the convict army as a scene from a zombie movie. “They climb over the bodies of their friends and step on them.”
Andriy said a machine gunner was stunned to find that if he fired at them until they bled to death, they kept moving.
“It looks like it’s very, very likely they were on drugs before the attack,” he claimed.
Ukrainian soldier Petro Voloshenko described the fighting to AP: “It’s hell on earth right now; I can’t find enough words to describe it.”
Voloshenko, 44, is originally from Kyiv and has spent many months in the city, which he describes as a “symbol of Ukrainian invincibility”.
“Bakhmut is the heart of Ukraine, and the future peace of the cities that are no longer occupied depends on the rhythm at which it beats.”
In a rare admission of truth, Wagner boss and Putin lapdog Yevgeny Prigozhin tried to bed down Russian media reports that Ukrainian soldiers were leaving the city.
Instead, in a statement on Telegram, he confirmed: “Ukrainian forces are not retreating.
“They fight to the last ditch … there is bitter fighting for every street, every house, every stairwell”.
But military analysts say Bakhmut is nearing the tipping point, and Britain’s MoD confirmed today that Russia had made “small progress” in its quest to encircle the city.
The tense news comes as Ukraine prepares for a suspected Russian spring offensive to commemorate the February 24 anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Ukrainian military intelligence reports estimate that 500,000 conscripts are gathering at the border and preparing for attacks on the eastern and southern fronts.
Ukraine has been desperate for more heavy weapons from the West, some but not all of which will arrive in time.
At a press conference today, Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksii Rezniko said: “Of course, we still expect possible Russian offensive operations because it’s February and they like symbolism.”
Just as Bakhmut holds near-mythic significance for Ukraine, Russia will likely be anxious to win this battle ahead of its “symbolic” anniversary.
“We are ready,” Rezniko said, “Ukrainian armed forces are ready.”
https://www.the-sun.com/news/7315326/ukraine-war-bloodiest-battle-bakhmut-russia/ In Ukraine’s bloodiest battle, where soldiers only have 4 HOURS of life expectancy when fighting “stunned” Russians