©Health & Fitness Journal. FILE PHOTO: A van drives past a crater on the road caused by a rocket attack as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues November 1, 2022 in the eastern Donbass region of Bakhmut, Ukraine. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne 2/2
By Joseph Campbell
BAKHMUT, Ukraine (Health & Fitness Journal) – Residents in the besieged eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut are living in dire conditions, with civilians being killed and wounded every day, the deputy mayor said on Saturday as fighting between Russian troops and Ukrainian forces raged in the city.
Bakhmut was a key target for the Russian military as it slowly advanced through the Donetsk region, one of the areas the Kremlin claims it annexed after what Kyiv and the West described as a sham September referendum.
Kiev’s military says the area is the scene of some of the heaviest fighting with Russian forces, and Deputy Mayor Oleksandr Marchenko told Health & Fitness Journal that Russian troops “were trying to storm the city from multiple directions.”
Health & Fitness Journal could not independently confirm its account of the situation on the battlefield.
“Every day it gets harder and harder to survive in this city,” Marchenko said from an empty government building as mortar fire rang out nearby.
He said more than 120 civilians had been killed in Bakhmut since the Russian invasion on February 24.
“There are districts where we don’t know the exact number of people killed because there are active fighting going on there or the settlements are temporarily occupied (by Russian forces),” he added.
Ukrainian troops are “holding down the front line,” Marchenko said, while describing the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the city, where the population has fallen from its pre-war level of about 80,000 to just 12,000 today.
It has been without electricity, gas and running water for almost two months.
Marchenko said local citizens still ventured out to shop, get humanitarian aid or fetch water despite being told to evacuate. He added that winter is the hardest for the elderly and infirm.
“We stand firm and hope that the Armed Forces of Ukraine will be able to further repel the enemy from the city,” he said.