Russians are on the verge of capturing key Ukrainian city. In neighboring Bakhmut those with nowhere else to go brace for their arrival - ABC17NEWS
At first glance Bakhmut doesn’t look like a city at war. As we drove into the city in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine on a warm sunny morning, men in orange vests tend to the roses. Traffic is light because of fuel shortages, so many residents get around on bicycles. Our first stop was a municipal building where volunteers were handing out bread. Just as the last words come out of her mouth the air shakes with multiple blasts. On a nearby forested hill, thin threads of black smoke curl into the sky where the blasts came from — most likely a Ukrainian rocket launcher. When I ask if she intends to stay in Bakhmut if Russian forces push closer, her demeanor changes.
Bakhmut sits by the main road leading to the twin cities of Lysychansk and Severodonetsk, now the epicenter of fighting in eastern Ukraine. Ukrainian officials say most of Severodonetsk is now under Russian control. Unlike in some other parts of the country, there is no sense here in the east that the worst of this war is over. The head of Ukrainian intelligence recently told The Guardian that for every one artillery piece possessed by the Ukrainian military, Russian has between 10 and 15. In this grinding war of attrition, Russia, far bigger and better armed, is pressing its advantage. She says she has nowhere else to go, and barely any money, and asks with an edge of irritation, what is the point? The Russians are coming. Thursday morning Russian aircraft struck a complex of agricultural warehouses on the edge of Bakhmut.
Bakhmut police Major Pavlo Diachenko spends his days documenting the aftermath of air and artillery strikes. A small group of people gathers mid-morning in a parking lot next to a municipal building, waiting for a volunteer-run bus to take them to the relative safety of the city of Dnipro, a four-hour drive to the west. Igor, a beekeeper in peacetime, is startled by a large blast as he stands in the shade. Simon Simonyonich has been out of sorts since Bakhmut came under fire, remarks Igor. “I left everything here — my bees and my house with all my belongings,” he says, holding Simon’s cage as he prepares to board the bus. After one final blast, the bus pulls out of the parking lot.
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