In the town of Krasnocholivka, the brutal Soviet-era apartments are not nearly empty, only a few residents remain. Blocks on the southern edge of town are burnt shells, shattered windows, and shades hanging in the winter breeze. The house is mostly closed. Their tenants are long gone. The central square is abandoned and spooky.
On Wednesday, several members of the public cautiously moved along the icy sidewalk to a small shop that appeared to still be open. next, Russian rocket A grenade fired into the icy gray sky exploded. This reminds us of the powerful threat posed by the enemy.
While the world’s attention is focused on the city, bahmut Like the conflict in Ukraine, fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces continues relentlessly elsewhere.
In the areas south and west of the city of Donetsk, in particular the towns of Krasnohorivka and Vkhreda, fighting took place for most of the war. Trench warfare and long-range rocket artillery combine to find weaknesses for each side. Russia’s progress here is essential if it is to fulfill President Vladimir Putin’s goal of conquering all of the Donetsk region.
At the moment they are not going anywhere.
An elaborate system of trenches just north of Krasnokholivka marks the Ukrainian forward defensive position. The dark brown earth is more than two meters deep, the trenches stretch for hundreds of meters, and in some places he is within half a kilometer of the Russian positions.
In the distance, giant piles of snow-covered slag rise out of the fog like ski slopes in the wrong place.
A Ukrainian commander, who identified himself as Bogdan, described the situation as “controlled but tense”.
“The enemy is always looking for weaknesses, but we have such a durable defense that they can’t find them,” says Bogdan. “Enemy attempts are cut instantly.”
His unit says it prefers to challenge the enemy to battle rather than wait to attack in order to try to demoralize the Russians. “Best job in the world!”
Bogdan says winter brings both advantages and problems. snow Make it harder for Russians to camouflage their cars. But it was about a kilometer away on Wednesday when it snowed, and visibility was poor, hampering drone surveillance and targeting on both sides. If the ground is frozen, logistics such as resupplying to the front line will be easier.
The unit’s sergeant and call sign Ghost said that the Russian forces they were facing consisted of Chechens, Wagner Private Military Company fighters, newly mobilized (known as “Mobik”) and professional soldiers. We say that it is a combination.
A Ukrainian officer told CNN that Chechen fighters had penetrated minefields strewn across uninhabited land and attacked Ukrainian trenches. They wounded one of his soldiers and captured another of his, but on the way back they got lost in a minefield and were killed. Most such efforts, he says, are carried out by small groups of saboteurs at night, when fighting tends to be more intense.
Interaction during the day is hardly quiet. When CNN was in the force’s position, the force launched an attack with Browning 50-caliber heavy machine guns, AK47s, and rocket-propelled grenades. The Russians responded by firing grenades and mortars.
CNN was not authorized to name the unit, but it is one of the most successful units in the Ukrainian military and more determined than any to hold the line. Many of its officers attended military academies and are professional soldiers. Two of his battalions in it fought in Mikolayiv in the south, where most of his soldiers came from, while the rest of his brigades operated on the long Donetsk front.
They were already on duty at nearby Mariinka, where the fiercest hand-to-hand combat in the conflict took place. One of his men – call sign Zam – said he was often just a few meters away from his opponents. Zam was baptized with fire. He was mobilized just two months ago.
Ghost says that when the Russians start firing, his men are open with whatever they have. Ammo consumption is almost breathtaking.
“They won’t advance even if we put up strong resistance,” Ghost said, adding, “Never underestimate the enemy.”
Snow gently falls, covering the fields, and the sounds of Russian Grad rocket launchers meet the sounds of heavy Ukrainian artillery.
With the arrival of spring, the battle will become even more intense. The Ukrainian military expects a Russian offensive on multiple fronts in February or he said March, once her 300,000 troops, which Russia mobilized last fall, are fully deployed. there is President Vladimir Putin said in December that 150,000 mobilized people were already in Ukraine.
Ukrainians are planning their own counterattack, according to senior officials.
Zam’s group is “ready for a spring attack. It will be hard, but we stand here for our land,” he says.
They have little choice. “Who will do it if not us?” Zam asks. It’s a common saying among soldiers here.
To withstand the expected attacks, Zam says his unit and hundreds of Ukrainian brigades like them need more heavy weapons and ammunition, as well as anti-tank weapons.
But even without them, he says his unit will continue to fight. What we have works. We have a friend Browning,” he says.