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2022 • The Fight for Bakhmut

October 14, 2022 – «I’ll probably miss this place at home», a senior artillery technician tells us. We hear this phrase through the sounds of tank shots. Fortunately, ours. The brigade we came to visit had been working near Bakhmut for more than a month. Now it’s the most difficult section of the front. Unlike other positions, where the Ukrainian army has moved from defense to offensive – here they are still defending, and the Russians, whose basis in this area are mercenaries from the groups like Wagner and Liga, are endlessly trying to break through the Ukrainian defense here, in one place and in another.

From a military point of view, there is not much logic in this now, but artillerymen explain these attempts to attack by the fact that the Russians need wins somewhere. This brigade is trying its best not to give Russia any wins. And all it at a high cost. A week ago, two artillery crews were knocked out due to shelling, the best fighters were killed, and this is what their comrades, who are almost all wounded, have to live and fight with.

October 18, 2022 – «Dundee» is working near Bakhmut, Donetsk region in the hottest section of the frontline. Dundee, crocodile hunter, it is the call sign of the tank crew. «Dundee» fired 90 shells today. Twenty-seven of them were seen by hromadske with our own eyes. «Dundee» was sweeping the forest lines near Bakhmut where Russian infantry positions are. Opposite, there are not only Russian military personnel, but also mercenaries of private companies «Liga» and «Wagner».

In this direction they have partial success, at this time of war – only here. «Dundee» passed Mala Rohan near Kharkiv at the beginning of the war in late winter and early spring, celebrated Easter at the positions near Izшum, and since Independence Day – here. What are the Russians trying to achieve here, do they take those who are 60+ to fight, and how do they fight, what is the highest praise for a tank driver and what does Glovo delivery do in the middle of the battlefield? All this is in the report.

November 2, 2022 – Near Bakhmut in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, Ukrainian forces often rely on artillery from the 1970s and 80s. The front line there is one of the most hotly contested areas. The soldiers say that although the Soviet-era weaponry is old, it is still very effective.

November 7, 2022 – Bakhmut is the hottest spot in Donbas. For four months now, the city has been under daily shelling by the Russian army. Civilians are forced to hide from shelling in basements and shelters. There is no electricity, no heating, no gas and no communication in Bakhmut. Volunteers bring the most necessary things to people. Our crew also visited the frontline city.

November 24, 2022 – The Russian army continues its attacks on the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut. The Armed Forces defend the city from the daily offensive operations of the Russian Federation, while infantrymen are injured. Military medics fight for the lives of Ukrainian troops every day and save them at the stabilization point. Like this time. The fighter’s life was on the line, but his heart was restarted. He will live. Radio Liberty Ukraine spent a day with doctors – details in the video report by Marian Kushnir and Serhii Nuzhnenko.

November 25, 2022 – Near the front line, Ukrainian doctors fight in a daily battle between life and death. RFE/RL spent a day at a field hospital near Bakhmut, in eastern Ukraine, which Russian forces are attempting to capture.

November 30, 2022 – NATO has pledged to send Kyiv more heavy weapons as the war in Ukraine heads into its first winter, a war which is becoming increasingly focused on artillery and tanks. Ukrainian troops continue to defend positions around Bakhmut , where both Ukrainians and Russians are sustaining heavy casualties. Our international editor Lindsey Hilsum has been to the front line close to that strategic town and spoken to the soldiers manning the guns.

December 9, 2022 – Deborah Haynes joins a group of Ukrainians who are helping bring much-needed food and fuel to residents of Bakhmut. The besieged town is the scene of an ongoing brutal battle between Ukrainian and Russian troops. Most residents have fled but some remain, risking death, cold and hunger as the fighting rages on around them.

December 13, 2022 – The streets outside Vyacheslav Tarasov’s home on Ukraine’s eastern frontline are pocked by shell blasts. The buildings around are mostly empty, windowless and cold. Bakhmut has been facing the relentless firepower of a frustrated Russian army for months. In its pursuit of an increasingly rare battlefield victory, Moscow has leveled buildings with rockets and missiles and sent endless waves of infantry to fight among the destroyed homes. Tarasov, 48, was sheltering from the shelling in his basement where he now has to live. But last week he dared to venture out – to buy vegetables to make the national dish, borscht. CNN’s Sam Kiley reports.

December 18, 2022 – Battle of Bakhmut – “Bakhmut Is ours, was ours, and will be ours” – Callsign “Witch”

December 18, 2022 – A drone video released on Saturday showed the battle raging in Ukraine’s eastern city of Bakhmut, on the frontline of Russia’s invasion of its western neighbor. Several explosions were seen in the video, with buildings destroyed or on fire. The video source claimed that Russia was “destroying civilian infrastructure with artillery and mortars.” Bakhmut, with a population of 80,000 people before Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February, has become a symbol of the grinding warfare playing out along much of the eastern front, where enemy positions have rarely budged more than a few hundred meters in recent weeks. Military experts say that the city appears to be of little strategic value to either side, but Russian forces including mercenaries fighting for the Wagner group have in recent days intensified their bombardment.

December 18, 2022 – Six months of struggle, daily attacks, shelling from all types of weapons – and absolutely insignificant progress. The Russian army continues to try to capture Bakhmut in the Donetsk region. The city, under the protection of the Ukrainian military, does not surrender. However, the civilian population began to evacuate more actively. Over the past week, Bakhmut left one and a half thousand people. The situation is difficult. The exit is dangerous. Volunteers help people. For those who still remain in shelters – there is not a single surviving building in the city – humanitarian aid is being delivered.

December 18, 2022 – For months now, Bakhmut in Donetsk Oblast, a city with a pre-war population of 70,000, has been the focus of relentless artillery and infantry attacks by the Russian military and the “Wagner PMC” (“Wagner Private Military Company”). For many commentators, the attacks seem nonsensical. At a time when Russia is pivoting to defense just about everywhere else along the line, why keep pouring men and materiel into a city that simply doesn’t have value relative to the effort expended trying to take it? This video zooms in on the battle for Bakhmut, and explores its history, implications, and some of what we have heard about the tactics there.

At the same time, we also look at Russia’s campaign of fortification building across much of the rest of Ukraine (and Russia). As the world focuses on Russia’s attacks on Bakhmut, Russia is also throwing up belts of defenses that . . . for now at least . . . seem to have some of the hallmarks of typical Russian defense procurement. Many thanks to the people who provided input into this episode, with a special thanks to Sgt. Kates of the USMC for giving the kind of input only a combat engineer can give (I do not have any idea how to clear a minefield). As always, this video represents merely a personal view based on imperfect information gathered during an active war.

December 19, 2022 – To invade a neighboring country, overthrow the government in its very own capital in 72 hours, and change the governmental system – this is exactly the ambitious mission of the Kremlin mercenaries called the Wagner Group (Wagner PMC, Wagner Private Military Company). But then something went wrong.

As a result, “professionals in their field” have been unable to capture the small town of Bakhmut in the eastern Ukraine for several months now, which has turned into a real hell on Earth for the Russians, and also one of the hottest spots for the soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. In today’s video, we’ll be talking about how the Ukrainian army foiled the plans of these “musicians,” and what will be their final chord in this unceasing battle.

The Wagner Group came to global prominence during the war in Donbas in Ukraine, where it aided separatist forces of the self-declared Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics from 2014 to 2015. Its contractors have reportedly taken part in various conflicts around the world—including the civil wars in Syria, Libya, the Central African Republic (CAR), and Mali, fighting on the side of forces aligned with the Russian government. 

Wagner Group operatives have committed war crimes in areas where they are deployed. Accusations include the rape and robbery of civilians, and the torturing of civilians, captured opposing soldiers, and accused deserters. Because it operates in support of Russian interests, receives military equipment from the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD), and uses installations of the Russian MoD for training, the Wagner Group is frequently considered an arm’s-length unit of the MoD or Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU.

The Wagner Group is owned and financed by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Russian businessman with close links to Putin. In September 2022, after years of denying links to the Wagner group, Prigozhin admitted that he ‘founded’ the paramilitary group. The Wagner Group has been used by the Russian government to allow plausible deniability in certain conflicts, and to obscure from the Russian public the number of casualties and financial costs of Russia’s foreign interventions.

The Wagner Group openly recruits and deploys prisoners and convicts to fight in the frontlines of Russia’s current war in Ukraine. The Wagner Group is a direct participant in the Russian invasion of Ukraine, where it was initially deployed to assassinate Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and other Ukrainian leaders.

December 20, 2022 – Russia’s Wagner Group is using conscripts to shield its “rare assets” of experienced commanders. UK’s Ministry of Defense said the Wagner Group is likely protecting its officers by letting them stay far from combat and lead via drone. Instead, the private militia reportedly relies on “expendable” troops often recruited straight from prisons. Watch the video to find out how Wagner PMC commanders give orders to convicts


December 20, 2022

The 300th Day of War • President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Bakhmut

December 20, 2022 – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has made an unannounced visit to the frontline city of Bakhmut, where Ukrainian and Russian forces are fighting a fierce, months-long battle. For months, Bakhmut has been a key target for Russian forces in the Donetsk region, and has been extremely badly damaged. However, Ukrainian forces have been able to hold back the advance. He met troops and handed out awards to soldiers. The visit is a demonstration of support for Ukrainian forces engaged in some of the fiercest battles in recent weeks.

December 20, 2022 – Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, visits the eastern frontline city of Bakhmut, now the epicentre of fighting as Russia’s invasion stretches into its tenth month. Zelensky meets military officials and hands out awards to Ukrainian servicemen, who have been holding back a fierce and months-long Russian military campaign against the city. The brutal trench warfare and artillery battles around Bakhmut — once known for its vineyards and cavernous salt mines — have flattened large parts of the city and its surroundings.

December 20, 2022 – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited frontline troops in the eastern city of Bakhmut, where some of the fiercest fighting in recent weeks in Ukraine has taken place. Zelenskyy’s office released on Tuesday (December 20) video footage showing Zelenskiy, dressed in khaki, handing out medals to soldiers to loud applause from others fighting Russian forces in eastern Ukraine. The president thanked them for their “strength and motivation” and held a moment’s silence for lives lost, as audible explosions could be heard booming in the distance.

The battle for Bakhmut has been long and hard. Control of the city, with a pre-war population of 70,000-80,000, could give Russia a stepping stone to advance on bigger Ukrainian cities but Ukrainian forces have so far held on. The 10-month-old conflict in Ukraine, the largest in Europe since World War Two, has killed tens of thousands of people, driven millions from their homes and reduced cities to ruins.

December 20, 2022 – Zelenskyi in Bakhmut, Putin in Minsk. Feel the difference. Thank you for watching and for your support! Anna from Ukraine

December 21, 2022 – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was in Bakhmut Tuesday (yesterday, December 20) visiting soldiers on the front lines. Zelensky described the strategic city as a “fortress.” Ukrainian troops are desperately fighting to resist Russian forces despite Vladmir Putin remaining hellbent on capturing the city.

December 21, 2022 – Ukrainian soldiers defending the key eastern city of Bakhmut say the battles are constant and “cruel,” describing ineffective Russian tactics that are endlessly repeated. They say Russian soldiers advance, Ukrainian artillery destroys them, then more come the next day.

Happy Saint Nicholas Day to Hanna from White Angel

December 21, 2022 – The men of a Ukrainian police evacuation group called White Angel brought a Saint Nicholas Day present (a small princess doll) to Hanna, a young girl living with her family in a basement of the bombed out, totally obliterated, completely destroyed city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine.

The White Angel police evacuation group has been constantly working every day to get local residents safely out of the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, which has been under attack from Russian forces for nearly seven months since May 17, 2022. Before evacuating some elderly residents, the police officers of White Angel brought their Saint Nicholas Day present to Hanna.

The fighting for Bakhmut is a daily brutal pounding by Russian artillery followed by violent ground assaults against Ukrainian forces defending the city. The fighting for Bakhmut is a vicious, ferocious meat grinder of intense suffering for both sides. Really. The main assault force primarily consists of mercenaries from the Russian paramilitary organization Wagner Group, supported by regular Russian troops and DPR and LPR separatist elements.

As of late 2022, following Ukraine’s Kharkiv and Kherson counteroffensives, the Bakhmut front was one of the few front lines in Ukraine where Russia remained on the offensive. Attacks on the city intensified in November 2022 as assaulting Russian forces were reinforced by units redeployed from the Kherson front, together with newly mobilized recruits. By this time, much of the front line had descended into brutal, vicious positional trench warfare, with both sides suffering high casualties without any significant advances.

The DPR (Donetsk People’s Republic) – Донецкая Народная Республика, Donetskaya Narodnaya Respublika, abbreviated as DPR or DNR (ДНР) is a disputed entity illegally created by Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine, which claims Donetsk Oblast. It began as a breakaway state (2014–2022) and was then illegally annexed by Russia on September 30, 2022. The city of Donetsk is the claimed capital city.

The Luhansk or Lugansk People’s Republic – Луга́нская Наро́дная Респу́блика,  Luganskaya Narodnaya Respublika, abbreviated as LPR or LNR (ЛНР) is a disputed entity illegally created by Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine, which claims Luhansk Oblast. It began as a breakaway state (2014–2022) and was then illegally annexed by Russia on September 30, 2022. The city of Luhansk is the claimed capital city.

On September 30, 2022, the Russian Federation’s president Vladimir Putin announced the annexation of Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia oblasts of Ukraine in an address to both houses of the Russian parliament. Ukraine, the European Union, the United Nations, and almost every other country has condemned this illegal annexation by Russia of these four Ukrainian sovereign territories.

December 21, 2022 – The Russian army has pressed incessant attacks on Bakhmut in the Donetsk region since middle-May. At first, they were launching missile strikes, and in the summer they began to use aviation and artillery. Now the city is 60 percent destroyed after six months of fighting. As a result of daily shelling and attacks, not a single house remained intact in residential areas.

But people still live here. Rescuers continue to work in the city to help them. They are already called ‘Heroes of Bakhmut.’ This is a report about the everyday life of employees of the State Emergency Service.

December 22, 2022 – After 10 months of conflict, Ukraine is approaching its first Christmas at war. Families across the country are without power because of Russian attacks, and some are missing family members who have been in the conflict.

Since the war began, the BBC has been following one soldier – Lieutenant Eugene Gromadskyi – as he fights to defend his country at great personal cost. BBC correspondent Quentin Sommerville and camera-journalist Darren Conway joined him at an undisclosed location, near Kupyiansk in the country’s east, where fighting continues amid appalling winter conditions.

December 23, 2022 – Retired Air Vice-Marshal Sean Bell discusses the situation in Bakhmut and why Russia is making slow progress trying to take the city.

December 24, 2022 – “Christmas during war is still Christmas.” These Ukrainian soldiers say they are spending the holiday away from their family so they never have to stay away again.

December 27, 2022 – “Bakhmut has become a bloody vortex at the center of Ukraine’s fight against invading Russian forces. With thousands of dead after months of constant Russian attacks, the city is barely standing. VICE News spent two weeks inside the city embedded with soldiers, civilians and frontline workers trying to survive in the face of ceaseless violence.”

December 27, 2022 – The Russians have been driven back from Bakhmut and are now attacking positions close to the town. The nearby village of Opytne saw particularly heavy fighting, with soldiers from the 53rd Mechanized Brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces capturing and clearing trenches held by mercenaries from the Wagner Group.

December 28, 2022 – Russian forces rained artillery fire on Ukrainian positions along the whole contact line in the east, with a focus on Bakhmut and Avdiyivka in Donetsk. The heaviest fighting has been taking place over the past months, the General Staff of the armed forces of Ukraine said on December 28.