In the Bakhmout swamp, the Russian army inflicts daily casualties on the Ukrainian forces, particularly from artillery.
Fighting is raging in Bakhmout. In this city in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk Oblast, the balance of power between Vladimir Putin’s army and the Ukrainian armed forces is tense. “The most difficult situation is like in the days before near Bakhmout. We are still holding our positions,” said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky a few days ago.
About fifteen kilometers from the Russian positions, members of the 58th Motorized Infantry Brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces are preparing to attack the enemy.
“It’s a very good firing range with very good visibility. Artillery does the most damage. There’s a saying that ‘the sweat of the artillery saves the blood of the infantry,'” says one soldier.
“They will be sent to the slaughterhouse in waves”
Opposite, on the Russian side, mercenaries from the Wagner paramilitary group are sent into battle every day. According to these Ukrainian soldiers, the Russian army “does not consider” these mercenaries “as people”. “They are being sent to the slaughterhouse in waves,” says Sergeant Petrohka.
Kiev armed forces are forced to use their weapons and empty their magazines. “After using our ammunition, the professional soldiers come. That’s their tactic.”
“Significant losses on our positions”
“The Russians’ strategy hasn’t changed since May. Thanks to the artillery, they are causing significant damage to our positions,” acknowledges Baer, battalion commander of the 58th brigade. “And now their groups are moving around. They’re not that big, it’s like 10-12 people, and most of them are Wagners.”
Although casualties cannot be quantified, the Battle of Bakhmout is one of the longest and deadliest since the conflict began.
By September, the Ukrainian army had retaken thousands of square kilometers in the northeast and south in a successful counteroffensive. Since then, fighting has been largely concentrated in the east of the country while continuing around Kherson (south).