Donetsk region: a tank graveyard of the Russian army

A new aerial video shows Russian tanks destroyed by Ukrainian resistance in the Donetsk region.

On Wednesday, Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense shared a video from its 53rd Mechanized Brigade of what appeared to be Russian tanks moving along a swath of frozen ground before being engulfed in massive clouds of smoke.

“The offensive of ruscists in Donetsk region continues according to the same suicidal plan,” the ministry captioned the footage.

Russian forces have recently ramped up their offensive in the battle for Bakhmut. The small mining city is in the eastern Donetsk region, which has been at the forefront of the war in Ukraine and has served as a major transport hub for Ukrainian forces.

If successful, the conquering of Bakhmut would hand Russia its first major win in months and bring Moscow closer to controlling all of Donetsk. Earlier this year, Russia took over the town of Soledar, located five miles northeast of Bakhmut.

On Monday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said, “The enemy is constantly destroying everything that can be used to protect our positions for fortification and defense. Our soldiers defending the area around Bakhmut are true heroes.”

The Donetsk region recently became a tricky battleground due to spring temperatures that have thawed previously-frozen land into muddy puddles, making it difficult for both sides to make advances on the ground.

Last week, Yan Gagin, an adviser and spokesperson for the acting head of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic, told Russian state media that Bakhmut had been “encircled” by Russian troops and that Moscow had choked off Ukraine’s path to ammunition supplies.

Oleksandr Syrskyi, the commander of Ukrainian ground forces, agreed that the fighting had grown “extremely tense.” He also said that Russia has dispatched Wagner assault units to try to break through Ukrainian defense.

“Vicious battles are going on there,” Serhiy Cherevatyi, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s eastern military command, said on Ukrainian television. “The command is doing everything it can to stop the enemy from advancing through our territory.”

On Wednesday, an adviser to Zelensky said that the Ukrainian military was considering pulling out troops from Bakhmut amid the relentless shelling and growing casualties.

“Our military is obviously going to weigh all of the options. So far, they’ve held the city, but if need be, they will strategically pull back,” Alexander Rodnyansky, an economic adviser to Zelensky, told CNN. “We’re not going to sacrifice all of our people just for nothing.”

Since invading Ukraine more than a year ago, Russia has already captured much of the neighboring Luhansk region, which together with Donetsk makes up the Donbas. The United Nations has estimated that there have been more than 21,500 civilian casualties in the first year of the war, including 8,101 deaths and 13,479 injured.

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