On December 20th, Ukrainian President Zelensky made an unannounced visit to the eastern city of Bakhmut. The city has been under heavy artillery fire from Russia for several weeks.
Zelensky’s office said that he visited soldiers who fought to defend the city and presented them with awards. The president, who was met by commanders on the status of the operation, logistical support, and recommendations for further action, thanked Ukrainian fighters for their courage, resilience, and strength as they repelled enemy attacks. During the unannounced visit, Zelensky called Bakhmut “the hottest place on the entire front line.” He said the invaders had been trying to breach Bakhmut since May. Over time, Bakhmut defeated not only the Russian army, but also Russian mercenaries. He added that the Russian army has lost nearly 99,000 soldiers and will soon exceed 100,000.
Russia has been trying for weeks to take Bakhmut, allowing it to advance towards other key cities in Donetsk. Since the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine War, Bakhmut has suffered the most tragic battle. The two sides competed for every inch of land. The Russian army has fired about 75,000 shells every day, causing heavy casualties on both sides. Reports exclaimed that Bakhmut has become a “World War I-style meat grinder.”