The average life expectancy of a front-line soldier in eastern Ukraine is just 4 hours, says a former US Marine.
He said fighting is especially deadly in the war-torn city of Bakhmut, dubbed “the meat grinder.”
Ukraine has resisted Russian advances on the city ahead of the war’s one-year anniversary.
The average life expectancy of a front-line soldier in eastern Ukraine is just four hours, a former US Marine fighting alongside Ukrainian forces in the Donbas told ABC News.
“It’s been pretty bad on the ground. A lot of casualties. The life expectancy is around four hours on the front line,” American Troy Offenbecker said.
Eastern Ukraine’s war-torn city of Bakhmut has experienced some of the bloodiest fighting since Russia’s full-scale invasion of its neighbor began almost one year ago. The battle for the city, which had a pre-war population of around 73,000 people, is the longest running of the war.
Fighting in Bakhmut is so bad, Offenbecker said, that it’s been dubbed “the meat grinder.” In early January, a senior US military official described combat in and around this town, which appears to have limited strategic significance to both Russia and Ukraine, as “really severe and savage.”
“You’re talking about thousands upon thousands of artillery rounds that have been delivered between both sides,” the official said at the time. “In many cases, you know, you’re looking at, you know, several thousand artillery rounds in a day that are being exchanged.”
Bakhmut has been a major target for Russian offensive forces, which includes both the regular military and the notorious Wagner Group, a Kremlin-linked private mercenary organization. Russia has been under “increasing political pressure” to claim some victories ahead of the anniversary of the invasion, according to a Monday intelligence update from Britain’s defense ministry.
“It is likely that Russia will claim that Bakhmut has been captured to align with the anniversary, regardless of the reality on the ground,” the UK intelligence shared.
Bakhmut, which is located in Ukraine’s occupied Donetsk region, has been besieged by Russian forces throughout much of the full-scale war. Late last year, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said it had been reduced to “burned ruins.”
Despite a months-long attempt by Russian forces to encircle the city, Ukrainian troops have provided a stiff defense and have so far prevented the Russians from capturing it. Meanwhile, Western intelligence estimates that Russia may have suffered as many as 200,000 casualties while fighting in Ukraine, including up to 60,000 troops killed.
“They have in some categories lost more than half of their military equipment in this war, and more than a million of the brightest and best Russians have left the country,” Victoria Nuland, the under secretary of state for political affairs, said earlier this week. “So what is this war bringing the average Russian? Nothing.”
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