It is a protracted, nervy and treacherous stroll to the frontline trenches round Bakhmut.
As we make our method by woodland, the conflict crashes and booms round us.
Although Ukraine has made small beneficial properties within the open floor across the flanks, its maintain inside the town is wanting more and more determined.
Ukraine conflict newest reside as troopers uncover drones
Russia has captured at the least 95% of the buildings and continues to be pushing ahead.
To get to the defensive positions outdoors the primary metropolis means leaving cowl and traversing farmland.
Russian drones are in search of motion – targets for his or her artillery.
As we transfer we hear shells screeching overhead after which the heart-thumping second they smash into the bottom just some hundred metres away.
In the trenches, the troopers are hardened to the hazards – and from right here you may see the town up shut.
Bakhmut seems like a imaginative and prescient from a nightmare.
The buildings are simply blackened bones of a spot the place folks used to reside.
On the horizon, we witness a smoking wreck of rubble and loss of life.
If it falls will probably be a pyrrhic victory for Moscow – they’ve misplaced tens of hundreds of troopers right here.
But will probably be a serious army and psychological blow for Ukraine nonetheless – Kyiv has invested an enormous quantity in its defence.
Read extra on the battle for Bakhmut:
Ukrainian metropolis a smoking smash as Russians pressured again in disarray
The battle of Bakhmut is just not about seizing very important floor
‘We will battle to the tip’
From a coated place we watch as shell after shell is unleashed on this metropolis beneath siege.
Bakhmut has seen the fiercest city fight of wherever on this planet for the reason that Second World War.
The males who’re its defenders inform us they’re solely holding on. But they won’t hand over.
One soldier tells me: “We are on our land and we will protect this land.
“We have a terrific motivation, a really nice motivation, to guard our land.
“And I think that the enemy understands that we will fight to the end.”
Further alongside the frontline is the town of Chasiv Yar and with Russia controlling almost all of Bakhmut, it might be subsequent.
From the window of a shattered residence block, the troops right here present me the place Vladimir Putin’s forces are shifting.
Use the sliders under to see Maxar satellite tv for pc pictures of Bakhmut 12 months in the past in comparison with right this moment
‘It’s a scary scenario’
The crisp spring day is fractured by the thunderous sound of shells exploding close by.
Large plumes of smoke mushroom over the tree line.
Ukraine’s principal counteroffensive might not have began however the combating stays intense.
At the command centre, they know the large push is looming – however till it begins they have to preserve Russia from advancing additional.
It is just not straightforward.
The Deputy Section Commander, Andriy, speaks candidly concerning the actuality of this grinding battle.
“Enemy forces attack our positions every day, night and day… we fight for all the power we have, and I don’t know – it’s actually a very difficult and scary situation.”
This conflict is exacting a horrible value on Ukraine.
Every constructing is battered – and it is getting worse
The most savage combating, within the Donbas, has pressured the bulk from their properties – right here shells land in streets with out warning.
As we drive we see a car on hearth. It’s simply been hit by artillery.
Every constructing is battered.
And Moscow’s indiscriminate use of violence is getting worse.
It’s turning into a nightly incidence – cities and cities are being hit with barrages of missiles and drones.
In Kramatorsk, we see frightened folks clearing up after a big bomb exploded of their neighbourhood in the course of the night time.
There’s no army goal right here – simply residence blocks – and civilians who’re terrified.
Valentyna was sleeping on the time of the explosion.
She tells me: “I trembled, could not stand up, and take at least one step. I was shaking.
“My son dragged me into the toilet. When we left, there was mud in all places – horrible.”
Each day in Ukraine brings extra carnage and every day this conflict goes on there’s rather less hope.