Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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Home » Fighting Rages in Ukraine’s Bakhmut as Death Toll in Slovyansk Climbs to 11

Fighting Rages in Ukraine’s Bakhmut as Death Toll in Slovyansk Climbs to 11

by Gaioz Arabidze
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Intense fighting between Ukrainian and Russian forces raged in the devastated town of Bakhmut on April 15 as the death toll from a Russian strike in nearby Slovyansk climbed to 11.

Russian forces have been besieging Bakhmut in the Donetsk region of Ukraine for months, making only incremental progress at an enormous cost of human life.

In an interview with state TV, Serhiy Cherevatiy, the spokesman for the eastern military command, described the fighting in the city center as “unprecedented,” adding there had been 17 clashes with Russian troops over the past 24 hours.

He said Russia had also launched 158 strikes on Bakhmut using rockets and artillery over the same time period.

In Sloviansk, located about 45 kilometers northwest of Bakhmut, Ukrainian emergency workers were still looking for people under the rubble of buildings struck by Russian rockets on April 14.

The rockets struck five buildings, five homes, a school and an administrative building, killing at least 11 and wounding 23.

“None of the people responsible for this aggression can be forgiven or forgotten,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in his daily address to the nation.

Russia on April 15 claimed advances on the northern and southern outskirts of Bakhmut, which had a pre-war population of 70,000 people.

Russian forces have surrounded Bakhmut on three sides, with just one major road still available to Ukraine’s beleaguered forces.

Nonetheless, Ukrainian forces have been able to hold parts of the city despite Russian and analyst predictions it was on the verge of falling to Russia.

Bakhmut, which had a pre-war population of 70,000 sits at the junction of several major roads, making it a valuable city for logistic purposes. However, its symbolic importance to both sides far outweighs its strategic importance, experts say.

For the Russians, a victory in Bakhmut would provide bragging rights in the wake of a series of Ukrainian victories last year that underscored systemic problems in the Russian military.

Meanwhile, Zelenskiy has visited Bakhmut twice and made it a center point of his speech in the U.S. Capitol before both chambers of Congress.
Zelenskiy compared the battle for Bakhmut to the Battle of Saratoga that turned the tide of the U.S. war for independence.

“Ukraine holds its lines and will never surrender,” he said.

Russia and Ukraine have each lost thousands of soldiers in Bakhmut in what is likely the deadliest theater of the invasion to date.

Russia’s losses in Ukraine, including Bakhmut, could force the Kremlin to announce further mobilization this year.

In possible anticipation of that need, Russia’s parliament quickly passed legislation this week that makes it harder for Russians to avoid the draft.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the legislation into law on April 14.

Source : RadioFreeEurope

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