Footage Documents Troops’ Perspective of Battered Bakhmut

Footage Documents Troops' Perspective of Battered Bakhmut firstamericannews

A Wall Street Journal Renew News.- For weeks, Ukraine’s Honor Company held back Russian forces on the way to Bakhmut, engaging in fierce combat. The two armies exchanged fire, using a variety of weapons such as artillery, machine guns, and rifles. The dugouts along the line of trees were home to Ukrainian soldiers who were constantly exposed to the risk of artillery attacks.

During the winter, the trench system turned into a muddy bog that soldiers had to navigate, avoiding being targeted. The positions were critical to Ukraine’s efforts to keep the supply line to its besieged forces in Bakhmut open. On April 9, the Russians launched a new effort to overwhelm the Honor Company’s positions.

Two soldiers from the unit captured footage of the fighting on cameras attached to their helmets, which the Ukrainian military shared with The Wall Street Journal. This article is based on the footage and interviews with Honor Company members. Ukraine’s soldiers mostly hid from artillery fire in dugouts, emerging periodically to shoot in the direction of the advancing enemy infantry to keep them at bay. Wall Street Journal Renew reported.

On the day of the attack, First Lt. Oleksandr Yabchanka, a 42-year-old pediatrician with Honor Company, saw a blast and a plume of smoke up ahead while walking toward a dugout on the front line. The explosion had come from a 120mm mortar bomb that had hit the dugout.

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The Honor Company arrived in early March to the western outskirts of Bakhmut, a city of some 70,000 that is now mostly in ruins. By the end of February, Russian forces had advanced around Bakhmut’s northern and southern edges and were threatening to cut off Ukrainian troops by slicing their two main supply roads. Ukrainian soldiers decided to stay and fight for each block and field to grind down Russian forces, bogging down the battle here to buy time to prepare for a bigger offensive elsewhere.

Despite brutal street-to-street fighting that has hemmed Ukrainian soldiers into a few blocks in the west, Russian forces have still not managed to cut off Bakhmut. Wagner, the paramilitary group made up largely of convicted criminals, has led Russian assaults on the city. Late last week, Wagner founder Yevgeny Prigozhin threatened to withdraw his troops from Bakhmut, citing growing losses.

The leader of the Honor Company is Second Lt. Serhiy Filimonov, who founded a Ukrainian nationalist group that protested corruption and once starred as a gangster in an acclaimed Ukrainian film. When Russia invaded, he turned his movement, called Honor, into a fighting unit, which later became part of the 67th Mechanized Brigade.

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They began their fight by scouting out Russian positions using aerial drones, dropping grenades from them and firing artillery, including mortars and howitzers. Then, they moved up through the trees and forced the Russians out almost to the top edge of the field by the road, setting up a coordinated defensive system with sniper and machine-gun positions that enabled them to hold off the attackers and kill hundreds of Russians.

The Honor Company, which had more than 100 soldiers, has suffered painful losses, mostly from artillery strikes, with five soldiers dying and many others sustaining injuries. The company fortified its positions, including a dugout known as Zhmur, or Stiff, where four Russian corpses lay inside, abandoned by their comrades from Wagner.

The Ukrainians didn’t remove the bodies since any movement was likely to attract artillery fire, and so the bodies remained in the bunker, a grim reminder of the war’s toll.

At his command post on April 9, Lt. Filimonov was struggling to get a clear picture of what was happening at Zhmur. Video feeds from drones usually gave him an early warning that enemy forces were approaching, but weeks of bombardments had taken their toll on the battalion’s. Wall Street Journal Renew reported.

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