By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
BAKHMUT/BUDAPEST (Worthy News) – Ukraine says it has recaptured ground in Bakhmut, in a rare advance after months of grinding Russian gains in the eastern city. But Moscow has denied the claims while the death toll is mounting in one of the longest and bloodiest since Russia’s invasion began more than 14 long months ago.
Footage shared by Ukraine’s military showed Ukrainian soldiers narrowly escaping Russian grenades as they stormed Russian trenches near Bakhmut. As the troops rushed to the trenches, two grenades exploded near them in this terrifying armed confrontation. Despite the dangers, Ukrainian Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Malyar said Ukrainian forces have advanced two kilometers or (1.2 miles) in a week.
The claims would signal a momentum shift in Bakhmut – but more widely, there was no clear evidence of the much-anticipated Ukrainian counter-offensive.
Moscow has denied reports of Ukrainian gains after even the leader of Russia’s Wagner group of mercenaries, Yevgeny Prygozhin, reported a breakthrough by Ukraine’s military. Though experts question its tactical value, the intense battle for Bakhmut has become symbolically important.
Covering the conflict is becoming increasingly dangerous for reporters: A young journalist working for the French news agency AFP Arman Soldin died near Bakhmut on Monday when a Grad missile landed close to where he was lying.
MORE REPORTERS KILLED
The advocacy group Reporters Without Borders says at least 11 media workers, including journalists, fixers, and drivers, have been killed covering the war in Ukraine.
Russia’s defense ministry also confirmed Friday that Ukrainian forces carried out what it called “offensive operations” near Bakhmut around the settlement of Soledar.
Moscow claimed more than a thousand troops and up to 40 tanks were used in the alleged attack but added that the forces were “repulsed.” Britain pledged to deliver long-range missiles, but they will arrive too late for many Ukrainian fighters.
Yet, in remarkable footage from the Bakhmut area, a Russian soldier identified as Ruslan Nikolaievich told a Ukrainian drone flying over the battlefield he wanted to surrender.
The drone dropped a note written by Ukrainians telling him to follow the aircraft.
He then scrambled over the bodies of fallen comrades and tried to make it out of the trench before coming under fire, apparently by his men.
The soldier eventually made it to the nearby Ukrainian trench, removed his helmet and battle gear, and surrenders to Ukrainians. With thousands of soldiers killed in warfare resembling World War One, it was seen as a small sign of hope.
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