Photos shared by Ukrainian forces show the horrors of trench warfare, with scenes resembling World War One’s Passchendale battle over a century ago. The fighting shown is taking place in the Ukrainian town of Bakhmut, which has been at the center of the nine-month long conflict.
The town, which is located in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, has become synonymous with heavy shelling and relentless attacks.
It comes as Russian military commanders try to dislodge Ukrainian defenders in their desperation for a victorious assault.
President Volodymyr Zelensky has said that of all his forces’ battles, the “most difficult” are in Bakhmut.
Ukrainian military sources say that hundreds of Russian soldiers have been killed trying to overrun their positions around their town.
The battle would appear to mix early 20th-century warfare with modern technological war.
Troops dig into trenches with drone helping them from above to help their aim or drop grenades.
Ukrainian forces accuse Russians of using phosphorous incendiary munitions and thermobaric vacuum bombs.
A spokespoerson for the Ukraine military’s eastern front has said Russia constantly disregards its own troops.
Serhii Cherevatyl has said Russian commanders see their soldiers as “single use”.
“They are sending them like meat to find out where our firing positions are,” he told The Telegraph.
“When the first wave is dead and the Ukrainian forces have used up their ammunition, then they attack again.”
In the area, he estimated Russian losses were between 100 and 300 per day.
Ukraine’s forces are also thought to be suffering significant casualties.
Julius Terekhov, spokesman for the Ukrainian Army’s 58th Independent Motorized Infantry Brigade in Bakhmut, said: “It’s really like the First World War. Because of the intense shelling, the trees have been cut down.”
Bakhmut’s pre-war population of around 72,000 has fallen by as much as 80 to 90 per cent and those that remain spend much of their time sheltering in basements.
The arrival of early winter has partly slowed the pace of fighting, but, this weekend, Ukrainian forces still reported 190 shell strikes and as many as 50 firefights on a single day.
Jack Watling, senior research fellow for land warfare at London’s Royal United Services Institute, said: “If you look at Ukrainian fighting positions they tend to be well kept.
“People tend to have warm clothing and defensive lines often have areas that are kept clean, dry, and warm. Company commanders build these close to fighting positions.
“Russian junior leadership has been heavily attrited. The newly mobilised personnel do not have the experience or skills to operate for extended periods in the field. They have not been issued with winter clothing for the most part. Their fighting positions are often a mess.”
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