Fighting in and around Bakhmut has been fierce and grinding, particularly on the eastern side of the Bakhmutka river that bisects the city. But, in recent days, Russia has said its forces have made another push in the city, having taken the nearby town of Soledar, reported AFP.

A few thousand residents relied on aid and kept themselves safe in basements but eventually were compelled to evacuate as Russian forces reportedly drew nearer. 

“I thought about going two weeks ago, but I couldn’t decide. And now we know that they (the Russians) are already approaching, they are already on the border of the city, not far from us, and we did not want their presence in our lives,” said a Ukrainian citizen in Bakhmutka.

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“There are a lot more people to evacuate because the number of attacks increased,” she said. “The Russians came very close to the city, so there has been a lot more destruction and many houses were destroyed,” Tetyana Scherbak a volunteer with the non-profit Unity of People group which has set up humanitarian hubs in the city was quoted as saying by the news agency AFP. 

Russian attacks across Ukraine killed 11 people and left another 11 injured on Thursday, the country’s emergency services said.

The attacks came after the US and Germany agreed to deliver tanks to Kyiv. Canada also confirmed that it will be sending four Leopard tanks to Ukrainian forces.

While Ukraine’s top general claimed that Ukrainian air defences shot down 47 of the 55 missiles Russian forces fired at the country, the state emergency service’s spokesperson Oleksandr Khorunzhyi gave the casualty figures on national TV.

Meanwhile, Russian authorities designated the independent news outlet Meduza an “undesirable organisation”, effectively outlawing the site from operating in Russia and banning any Russian from cooperating with Meduza or its journalists, as reported by The Guardian.

(With input from AFP)

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