Civilians flee from Ukraine’s Bakhmut as looters battle for eastern city | News of war between Russia and Ukraine
Pressure is mounting on Ukrainian troops and civilians holed up in Bakhmut, as Kyiv forces try to help residents flee the eastern city. Ukraine.
A woman was killed and two men were seriously injured by shearing while trying to cross a mobile bridge out of Bakhmut on Saturday, according to Ukrainian soldiers who were helping them.
A Ukrainian military representative who asked not to be named for operational reasons told The Associated Press news agency that it was now too dangerous for civilians to leave the city by vehicle, and that people had to flee in place
For months, Bakhmut has been the main target for Moscow’s eastern offensive, with Russian troops, including large forces from the private group Wagner, getting closer to the main eastern stronghold of Kyiv.
AP journalists near Bakhmut on Saturday reported seeing a pontoon bridge set up by Ukrainian troops to help the town’s few residents reach the nearby town of Khromove. Later, they saw at least five houses on fire as a result of attacks in Khromove.
Ukrainian units in the past 36 hours destroyed two major bridges just outside Bakhmut, including one connecting it to the nearby town of Chasiv Yar on the last Ukrainian supply route that remained, according to UK military intelligence officials and other Western analysts.
The UK defense ministry said in its regular Twitter updates that the bridges were destroyed as Russian fighters made further inroads into the northern suburbs of Bakhmut, putting pressure on the Ukrainian defenders. they have
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a think tank based in Washington, DC, assessed late Friday that Kyiv’s actions could point to a Ukrainian withdrawal from parts of the city.
It said Ukrainian troops could “make a limited and controlled withdrawal from difficult sections in eastern Bakhmut,” while trying to prevent Russian movement there and routes to restrict exit to the west.
Wagner’s commander, Yevgeny Prigozhin, said on Friday that his fighters had “practically surrounded” Bakhmut. In the latest video, Prigozhin directly called on Zelenskyy to abandon the city.
Capturing Bakhmut would not only give Russian fighters a battlefield advantage after months of setbacks, but could sever Ukraine’s supply lines and allow Kremlin forces to to go towards other Ukrainian strongholds in the eastern region of Donetsk.
As the fighting continued, civilians who remained in the area spoke of their daily struggles amid the enemy’s close fire. Bakhmut resident Hennadiy Mazepa and his wife Natalia Ishkova chose to stay in Bakhmut, even as fierce battles reduced much of the town to rubble.
Speaking to the AP on Saturday, Ishkova said they were suffering from a lack of food and basic resources.
“Humanitarian [aid] given to us only once a month. There is no electricity, water, gas,” she said. “I pray to God that everyone who stays here will survive.”
Elsewhere, Ukraine’s emergency services said the death toll from Thursday’s Russian missile attack that hit a five-story apartment block in southern Ukraine has risen to 10.
The Main Directorate of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine said in an online statement that rescuers had pulled three more bodies from the wreckage overnight, about 36 hours after a Russian missile tore through four floors the building in the riverside city of Zaporizhzhia. They said that a child was among those who were killed, and that the rescue effort was continuing.
Russian shells on Saturday also killed two residents of frontline communities in the surrounding Zaporizhia region, the local military administration said in a Telegram post.
A 57-year-old woman and a 68-year-old man also died in Nikopol, a town further west near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, as Russian forces stationed there fired artillery shells and rockets at land. which was held in Ukraine across the Dnieper River. , regional Governor Serhiy Lysak said on Saturday.
In the southern Kherson region, a Russian grenade crashed into a police van in the village of Antonivka, injuring four officers, the local police force said on its Facebook page.
Zelenskyy has vowed to defend the “Bakhmut fortress” as long as possible, and asked allies to step up their support to help his men.
On Saturday, the president of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, visited Ukraine, where she asked for permission for the country to start the EU membership negotiations this year.
US President Joe Biden hosted German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Friday for his first visit since the offensive, in a show of partnership after friction over supplying tanks to Ukraine.
Before the meeting, the Kremlin warned that the delivery of weapons would only “prolong the conflict and bring sad consequences to the people of Ukraine”.
The US responded to Moscow’s warning against further arming Ukraine by offering another $400m in security aid.