Drone footage shows devastation in Chasiv Yar, an eastern Ukrainian city Russia is assaulting

Drone footage obtained by The Associated Press shows months of Russian artillery pounding have devastated a strategic city in eastern Ukraine

Jill Lawless,Illia Novikov
Wednesday 01 May 2024 11:27 BST

Months of relentless Russian artillery pounding have devastated a strategic city in eastern Ukraine, new drone footage obtained by The Associated Press has shown, with barely a building left intact, homes and municipal offices charred, and a town that once had a population of 12,000 now left deserted.

The footage shows the community of Chasiv Yar — which is set amid green fields and woodland — pounded into an apocalyptic vista. The massive destruction is reminiscent of the cities of Bakhmut and Avdiivka, which Ukraine yielded after months of bombardment and huge losses for both sides.

The strategically important city has been under relentless attack by Russian forces for months. Capturing it would give Russia control of a hilltop from which it can attack other cities that form the backbone of Ukraine’s eastern defenses.

Russia launched waves of assaults on foot and in armored vehicles at Chasiv Yar's outnumbered Ukrainian troops, who have run desperately short of ammunition while waiting for the U.S. and other allies to send in fresh supplies.

Rows of mid-rise apartment blocks in Chasiv Yar have been blackened by blasts, punched through with holes or reduced to piles of timber and masonry. Houses and civic buildings are also heavily damaged, and a gold-domed church appears to be destroyed.

No soldiers or civilians were anywhere to be seen in the footage shot Monday and exclusively obtained by the AP, apart from a lone man walking down the middle of a road between wrecked structures.

The destruction underscores Russia’s scorched-earth tactics throughout more than two years of war, as its troops have sought to advance, killing and displacing thousands of civilians.

Chasiv Yar is located on high ground, offering Russia the possibility of a platform it can use to push towards larger cities that form Ukraine’s defensive belt in the eastern Donetsk region.

Capturing Chasiv Yar would set the stage for a potentially broader Russian offensive that Ukrainian officials say could come as early as May.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg acknowledged Monday that the delayed delivery of allied countries' military aid to Ukraine had left the country at the mercy of the Kremlin's bigger and better-equipped forces.

Ukraine and its Western partners are racing to deploy critical new military aid that can help check the slow and costly but steady Russian advance across eastern areas, as well as thwart drone and missile attacks.


Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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