Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky confirmed, on Saturday, that the field military situation near Bakhmut is currently the “most difficult” in eastern Ukraine, days after the pro-Russian forces announced their approach to the city.
“The situation is still very dangerous in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions” in the Donbass industrial basin, Zelensky said in his daily evening address. He added, “The most difficult situation is near Bakhmut, like the previous days, and we are still holding our positions.”
On Thursday, Russian-backed separatist forces in the Donetsk region announced that they had captured two villages near Bakhmut: Obitin and Ivangrad.
For weeks, Russian forces have been bombing Bakhmut, which had a pre-war population of 70,000 people.
About 15 kilometers from Bakhmut, AFP journalists in Chasiv Yar spoke to a soldier who had just returned from the front line in this area. The 50-year-old soldier from the 93rd Brigade said: “For days I didn’t sleep, I didn’t eat and I only drank coffee.”
“Out of the 13 young men in my group, we lost two and five were evacuated,” said the soldier, who was lightly wounded by shrapnel and showed signs of fatigue. “This is our life now, we will do everything for our country,” he added, about to cry.