Russian troops are using the dead bodies of their fallen comrades to advance through Ukrainian bullets, according to gruesome reports.
Ukranian Illia Berezenko – a former journalist who joined the ranks of Kyiv's Territorial Defense to fight for his homeland – told Euromaidan Press of the horrors of defending Bakhmut in the east of the country.
Ukrainian officials have said fighting is becoming increasingly difficult as it is pummelled by Russian artillery. Only 4,500 people remain in the destroyed city which previously had a population of about 70,000.
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Berezenko said Russian forces liked to shell from artillery for several hours before launching infantry attacks in a bid to overwhelm Ukrainian positions.
“The situation was reaching the point of absurdity sometimes," he said. "When a [recruited soldier of Russian] Wagner [units] crawls up to a dead comrade, uses him as a shield, pushes and advances towards our positions.”
He added: "Near Bakhmut everything is like during the First World War where there was forest [and] charred stumps. As far as the eye can reach, dead enemies lie."
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Yevgeny Prigozhin, who heads up Wagner – an extremist paramilitary group – has previously called on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to withdraw troops from the besieged city.
In a propaganda video, he said Ukrainian soldiers were "practically surrounded" and claimed there was "only one route" left for Ukrainian forces.
But Putin's wider war effort has faced a number of stumbling blocks. Both Hungary and Turkey look to be changing their stance on the Russian hardman.
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Addressing the issue during an economic forum in Budapest on March 9, Hungarian President Viktor Orbán said: "I understand the need to rebuild Russian-European relations after the war but it's far from realistic.
"That is why Hungary's foreign and economic policy must carefully reflect on the type of relationship we can establish and maintain with Russia in the next 10 to 15 years."
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