When the Ukrainian defense line near Popasna was broken, Russian units suddenly appeared 15 km from Bakhmut.
At that moment, the city was still alive, and explosions were a rare occurrence. It took the Russian army many months to reach Bakhmut. They did not reach the city until November 2022. Then the devastating battle began.
The city was well-prepared for defense, and the Russians began to encircle it. First, they cut off the northern road after capturing Soledar, then they began to bypass the city from the southwest, along the river corridor, whose high embankments provided protection from Ukrainian artillery.
At the end of January and beginning of February, they advanced towards Ivanivskie, cutting off the second southern supply route for the city, while also heading towards Chasiv Yar, where the final supply route to Bakhmut lay.
The city is under heavy bombardment day and night. The Russian army launches attacks, followed by an artillery barrage, leaving nothing but rubble and ashes in their wake.
The heaviest fighting so far is taking place on the outskirts of the city, where the majority of shells are falling. Despite the center of the city also being under fire, there is a strange, surreal feeling, as if one is in the eye of a storm, where relative peace prevails. However, the whistling of shells and artillery rockets flying overhead can still be heard.
The smoke from burning buildings blends with the smoke from potbelly stoves used by civilians seeking refuge in cellars to keep warm. It is estimated that around 6,000 people still live here.
From time to time, an armored medical transporter passes through the city, taking the wounded out of the city. Under the whistling of passing artillery shells, the crew of the transporter waits for the wounded to take them to the field hospital.
The red cross on the side armor, chipped by shrapnel, shows what their everyday reality looks like. They are heroes. The world has already marveled at their daring, drone-recorded rescue mission for the wounded in Soledar.
Now, they are in Bakhmut. After all, only heroes remain in the partially besieged city of Bakhmut.