THE struggle for a Ukrainian city has descended into “WW1 hell” as Putin sends his butchers into an all-out battle dubbed the “meat grinder.”
Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Putin’s troops had reduced the eastern city of Bakhmut to “burnt ruins” as Ukrainian soldiers likened the scenes to World War I-style trench warfare.
The city, once home to 70,000 people, has been pounded by intense shelling for more than six months, while Russia barrages Ukrainian trenches with artillery day and night.
Putin’s merciless troops are trying to fire across a desolate no-man’s-land strewn with corpses on the eastern edge of Bakhmut — but Ukraine’s fierce troops fight back and mow them down.
Kostyantyn, a Ukrainian machine gunner, said his comrades were crushing Russian forces with mortars and machine guns – describing it as a “conveyor belt” of Russian troops.
He told the Financial Times: “For what? A damn meter of our land.”
Amid a huge and growing body count, he added: “You are just meat to Putin, and Bakhmut is a meat grinder.”
With no electricity for running water, Ukrainian soldiers said, Bakhmut has become a ghost town and a wasteland, like nearby Izyum and the southern city of Mariupol.
Volodymyr, a senior officer, described the fighting as “hell, just hell.”
One of the town’s last remaining residents, Oksana, 75, told Sky News: “Why are they? [Russians] so stubborn when it comes to our Bakhmut? And here: war, war, war.
“They’ve been beating us all the time for more than half a year.”
She added: “We are in the Stone Age. It’s frightening to live like this in the 21st century.
“And nobody in the world can help us. How can that be?”
Despite the heavy fighting, Russian gains have been minimal as the front line has not changed more than a few meters in recent weeks.
But Zelenskyy warned that the situation in the frontline city “remains very difficult”.
He said “there is a very fierce confrontation going on there” – he warned, “every meter counts”.
“The occupiers actually destroyed Bakhmut,” the Ukrainian president said in his nightly address to the nation on Friday.
In Bakhmut and other key areas of Donbass, “there is already no place to live… that hasn’t been damaged by shells and fire,” he said.
Russian troops are also trying to advance near Lyman, which was recaptured by Ukrainian forces in November, the region’s governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said.
Recent battles of Russia’s war in Ukraine have centered on four provinces that Putin allegedly illegally annexed in September.
Russia’s grueling eastern offensive managed to capture most of Luhansk in the summer.
Donetsk escaped the same fate – but the Russian military has hurled manpower and resources around Bakhmut to encircle the city.
After Ukrainian troops retook the southern city of Kherson nearly a month ago, the battle for Bakhmut intensified.
Taking Bakhmut would cut off Ukraine’s supply lines and give Russian forces a route to fire on Kramatorsk and Sloviansk – the main Ukrainian strongholds in Donetsk.
Last week, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg warned of the “real possibility” of a full-blown war between NATO and Russia.
In a chilling message, the head of the security coalition said he feared the Ukraine war was “getting out of hand”.
When asked what he fears most about this winter, Stoltenberg told Norwegian broadcaster NRK: “I fear that the war in Ukraine is spiraling out of control and escalating into a major war between NATO and Russia.”
“If something goes wrong, it can go horribly wrong,” he added.
He said he was confident such a situation would be avoided – but warned it remained a “real possibility”.
“I understand anyone who is tired of supporting Ukraine,” he said.
“I understand anyone who thinks that food prices and electricity bills are way too high.
“But we have to pay a much higher price when our freedom and peace are threatened by a Putin victory in Ukraine.”
Meanwhile, Britain’s Defense Ministry said Russia and Iran are intensifying military ties at an “unprecedented” level as the war in Ukraine rages on.
The ministry said the two countries are developing a “full defense partnership.”
An intelligence update said: “Iran has become one of Russia’s top military supporters since Russia invaded Ukraine.
“Iranian support for the Russian military is likely to increase in the coming months: Russia is trying to acquire more weapons, including hundreds of ballistic missiles.
“In return, Russia will most likely offer Iran an unprecedented level of military and technical assistance that will transform its defense relationship.”
https://www.the-sun.com/news/6890507/putin-battlefield-city-burnt-ruins-world-war-hell/ Inside Putin’s “meat grinder” battlefield while his butchers turn the city into “scorched ruins” in the “hell of WWI.”