- Sputnik International, 1920, 25.02.2022
Russia's Special Operation in Ukraine
On February 24, 2022 Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine, aiming to liberate the Donbass region where the people's republics of Donetsk and Lugansk had been living under regular attacks from Kiev's forces.

Ukrainian Forces Shell Artemovsk With Mortars After Its Liberation by Russia - Video

© Sputnik / Correspondent / Go to the mediabankRuins of Artemovsk (Bakhmut) amid fierce fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces. May 19, 2023.
Ruins of Artemovsk (Bakhmut) amid fierce fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces. May 19, 2023. - Sputnik International, 1920, 21.05.2023
The strategic northern Donetsk region city of Artemovsk (also known as Bakhmut) was fully liberated by on Saturday by units of the Russian military and the Wagner Group, with tens of thousands of Ukrainian troops and foreign mercs believed to be buried in the city’s ruins.
Ukrainian forces are firing mortars at apartment buildings in Artemovsk following the city’s total liberation by Russian forces in an apparent attempt to blast a Russian flag unfurled over one the city’s high-rises off the building.
“Once they gave the command, as soon as we seized the nine-story buildings, the ‘Tetris’ as we call them, we immediately put up our flag to show the whole world that this is our land, not that of some kind of Nazis and their ilk,” one of a fighters told a Sputnik correspondent in Samolet district – the last area of Artemovsk to be cleared.
“Yesterday, when we had just put up our flag on the nine story building, the enemy immediately decided to knock it down using 120 mm and 82 mm caliber mortars. They tried everything, but as you know, we have power on our side, so they failed. As they say, wherever Russians put up their flag, that’s our territory,” the fighter said.
Russian forces completed the liberation of Artemovsk on May 20 after 224 days of brutal, block by block, house to house fighting. The city, which had a pre-war population of about 70,000 people, is a key regional transport hub, and was turned into a seemingly impregnable fortress by Ukrainian forces beginning in 2015, fortified by thousands of tons of concrete and mined.
Artemovsk’s liberation is expected to move the front further away from Donetsk, hopefully easing the city’s suffering at the hands of Ukrainian shelling over the course of more than nine years.
The battles for the city have turned it into a hell for local civilians. On Saturday, another fighter told Sputnik that an elderly man left a basement where he had taken shelter to go over to the Russian side to be evacuated, but, just 50 meters from Russian lines, was hit by Ukrainian artillery, dying on the spot. “He survived through the whole war, but in the end died at the very end – just before Bakhmut was taken,” the fighter said.
Russian forces taking part in the fighting have estimated that more than 30,000 Ukrainian soldiers and foreign mercenaries died in fighting for the city, which President Zelensky once dubbed the “fortress of our morale.” The Ukrainian president refused to order a retreat from Artemovsk in March after it became clear that Russian forces would take it, with the Russian military subsequently reporting on hundreds of casualties among the Ukrainian military and mercenaries to Russian artillery, air and drone attacks daily for weeks.
A service member of Russia's private military company Wagner Group inspects a building in Artemovsk, also known as Bakhmut, as Russia's military operation in Ukraine continues, Donetsk People's Republic, Russia. - Sputnik International, 1920, 21.05.2023
Russia's Special Operation in Ukraine
Russia Liberating Artemovsk Proves 'Kiev’s Strategy Has Failed’
Zelensky confirmed Saturday that Artemovsk had been lost, saying the city had been destroyed and now remains “only in our hearts.” His press office continued to put up a brave front, assuring that the president’s words were not an admission that the city had been surrendered. Ukrainian deputy defense minister Hanna Maliar has claimed fighting is continuing, and that Ukrainian forces “control some industrial and infrastructure facilities and the detached home neighborhood of Bakhmut in Samolet area.”
The Russian military confirmed Sunday that “in the Artemovsk tactical direction, as a result of the offensive operations of Wagner assault detachments with the support of artillery and aviation of the Southern Group of Forces, the liberation of the city of Artemovsk was completed.”
A view shows a damaged monument in Artemovsk, also known as Bakhmut, in the Donetsk People's Republic, Russia. - Sputnik International, 1920, 21.05.2023
Russia's Special Operation in Ukraine
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