As Ukraine Makes Inroads in Bakhmut, Devastation Still Reigns

With the furious battle for the city of Bakhmut raging at their backs, a squad of Ukrainian soldiers tore through an open field, racing to get out of range of falling Russian artillery.

But before they could make it to safety, they said, they got a flat tire.

The three soldiers — known by the call signs Omar, Chip and Bandit — had spent the day on Friday taking part in Ukrainian offensive operations on the edge of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, blasting Russian tanks and armored vehicles. But after surviving another brutal day of battle, they worried that the punctured tire might doom them.

Omar, 36, hopped out of the car and used a screwdriver to put a plug in the hole. Within moments, they were off again.

The men, who recounted their story on Saturday just outside the nearby town of Chasiv Yar, were among the hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers ordered on the offensive around Bakhmut in recent days. The fighting has often been hard, they said, with many Russians willing to die rather…

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This article was written by Marc Santora and Tyler Hicks and originally published on