Bakhmut frontline: Preparing for the worst as the conflict gets closer and louder
Iolo ap Dafydd, Bakhmut
After seven months of shelling, the battles in Bahkmut are spilling over to neighboring towns and villages.
This eastern Ukrainian city, located on the Bakhmutka River about 89 kilometers north of Donetsk, is under threat as Russian forces step up their offense almost a year since the conflict began.
A few kilometers west of the Ukrainian city has been at the heart of the war between Russia and Ukraine. In one village called Chasiv Yar, locals are trying to ignore the nearby artillery shelling and swiftly boarding up their windows.
Four shops remain open, including one small old-fashioned corner shop, defiantly and valiantly offering essentials like water, potatoes and garlic. Everyone is preparing for the worst.
It's a miracle anything makes it into these treacherous and dangerous war zones. But these places remain resilient. People come to these shops because they know they can talk to others, see a friendly face, get the latest news, as well as fresh bread.
Most shops are closed though, and many of the local people who have stayed are elderly or unemployed. The population used to be more than 25,000. Some locals say more than 60 percent of them have left.
Only one road is open going into Bakhmut. All other roads are cut off. This road is crucial for the Ukrainians because it is the main road for the military based here.
There is still power here. There is still wi-fi. Life goes on. But the question is, for how long?
The battle in Bakhmut has been ongoing for seven months. The shelling is getting worse and louder, and that is definitely coming closer to civilian areas like Chasiv Yar.