Comparison of Bachmuth satellite imagery from May last year and this year
Attempted occupation switched to ‘devastation’ last month
Almost all buildings destroyed beyond recognition
Ukrainian side “succeeded in liberating, but Russia also gained ground”
As Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine has dragged on, the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut has become one of the biggest battlegrounds. After Russia launched its attack on Ukraine on February 24 last year, the war failed to end in a short-lived battle, and since July of the same year, the two armies have fiercely exchanged fire in Bakhmut.
Ukraine has fought fiercely to hold on to Bakhmut, with elite Russian troops recently retreating from the area and Russian private mercenary company Wagner Group citing heavy casualties and a lack of ammunition. But even if it hasn’t fallen into Russian hands, Bakhmut hasn’t looked the same since.
Satellite imagery released on Sunday (local time) by U.S. satellite company Maxa Technology shows that Bakhmut, where Ukraine and Russia fought, is virtually in ruins, with only traces of the city and its buildings remaining. The images compare the city’s appearance on May 8 last year, before the fighting began, and on May 15 this month.
In Bachmuth, almost all of the city’s buildings were destroyed, including infrastructure such as schools, parks, and shopping centers, as well as homes. From space, the city’s once colorful roofs were now nothing but ashen ruins.
In this satellite image comparing Bachmut on May 8 last year and May 15 this month, the building with the large roof in the center was originally a large theater, but now the roof is gone, leaving only the skeleton of the building, and other buildings such as shops around it have been destroyed beyond recognition. Barracks Technology – AP – Yonhap
Bakhmut is the key to full control of Ukraine’s Donetsk Oblast, which Russia has declared as its territory, so Russia spent last summer and winter trying to capture it.
But Ukraine also fought fiercely to defend it. “The average life expectancy of a Ukrainian soldier fighting on the front lines in Bakhmut is only four hours,” Troy Oppenbecker, a former U.S. Marine who joined the International Rescue Mission to support Ukraine, told ABC News, adding that the bloody battle for Bakhmut has been referred to as a “meat grinder,” with so many casualties.
At one point in early March, the head of the Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, claimed to have effectively surrounded Bakhmut and warned Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to evacuate Ukrainian forces from Bakhmut. However, guerrilla-style resistance from the Ukrainians, who took the city’s buildings seriously, made it difficult to fully capture the city, and in April, Russian forces eventually changed their strategy to “scorched earth” the area. The idea was to destroy every house and building in Bakhmut.
An area of Bakhmut, eastern Ukraine, where a local university 토토사이트and radio tower were located, lies in ruins on May 8, 2015. Barracks Technology – AP – Yonhap
Ukrainian media outlet New Voice of Ukraine (NV) noted that the comparison photos of Bakhmut in ruins “show the scale of the damage in the city, where residential buildings and other infrastructure have been completely destroyed after months of shelling between Ukrainian and Russian forces.” The Ukrainians also seem to recognize the high price they paid for Bakhmut. “Our forces have succeeded in liberating about 20 square kilometers of territory around Bakhmut (from Russian occupation forces),” Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said on the same day, adding that “Russian forces have made some progress in the city itself.”