On the ground

Ukraine’s desperate battle to keep vital eastern stronghold out of Putin’s hands

The Kremlin wants a military victory to shout about as Ukraine’s shortage of weapons has allowed Russia’s troops to advance. Askold Krushelnycky reports

Saturday 04 May 2024 15:33 BST
Ukrainian troops fire a rocket at Russian forces in the Donetsk region
Ukrainian troops fire a rocket at Russian forces in the Donetsk region (Reuters)

Ukrainian forces face a desperate fight to keep hold of the vital eastern town of Chasiv Yar in the Donetsk region – as Russia intensifies attempts to snatch a symbolic military victory in the coming two weeks.

The prize it seeks is the fortress town, sitting on high ground. If captured by Russian forces, its elevation will allow Moscow’s artillery to freely target the last four important towns – Kramatorsk, Sloviansk, Kostyantynivka and Druzhkivka – still in Ukrainian hands in the region.

Success there would bring the Kremlin closer to achieving its oft-stated goal to control the entire Donetsk region. And Moscow does not appear concerned about throwing waves of troops at the front line to make headway. These assaults by infantry have been accompanied by tanks, other armoured personnel carriers, soldiers on motorcycles and Mad Max-style quad-bike vehicles.

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