Russian 'Foothold' in Ukrainian Town Ends in Utter Devastation

Drone footage from Ocheretyne suggests no building was spared from Russia's attacks
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 4, 2024 9:30 AM CDT
In This Ukrainian Village, No Building Was Spared
This drone footage shows the village of Ocheretyne, a target for Russian forces in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine. No people could be seen in the footage, and no building in Ocheretyne appeared to have been left untouched by the fighting.   (Kherson/Green via AP)

The Ukrainian village of Ocheretyne has been battered by fighting, drone footage obtained by the AP shows. Russian troops have been advancing in the area, pounding Kyiv's depleted, ammunition-deprived forces with artillery, drones, and bombs. Ukraine's military has acknowledged the Russians have gained a "foothold" in Ocheretyne, which had a population of about 3,000 before the war, but says that fighting continues. Residents have scrambled to flee the village, among them a 98-year-old woman who walked almost 6 miles alone last week, wearing a pair of slippers and supported by a cane, until she reached Ukrainian front lines.

Not a single person is seen in the footage, and no building in Ocheretyne appears to have been left untouched by the fighting. Most houses, apartment blocks, and other buildings look damaged beyond repair, and many houses have been pummeled into piles of wood and bricks. A factory on the outskirts has also been badly damaged. The footage also shows smoke billowing from several houses, as well as fires burning in at least two buildings. Elsewhere, Russia has in recent weeks stepped up attacks on Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city, in an attempt to pummel the region's energy infrastructure and terrorize its 1.3 million residents. Four people were wounded, and a two-story civilian building was damaged and set ablaze overnight after Russian forces struck Kharkiv, in northeastern Ukraine, with exploding drones, regional Gov. Oleh Syniehubov said Saturday.

The four, including a 13-year-old, were hurt by falling debris, he said on the Telegram messaging app. Russia's Defense Ministry claimed early on Saturday that its forces overnight shot down four US-provided long-range ATACMS missiles over the Crimean Peninsula, which Moscow illegally annexed from Ukraine in 2014. The ministry didn't provide further details. Ukraine has recently begun using the missiles, provided secretly by the US, to hit Russian-held areas, including a military airfield in Crimea and in another area east of the occupied city of Berdyansk, US officials said last week. Long sought by Ukrainian leaders, the new missiles give Ukraine nearly double the striking distance—up to 190 miles—than it had with the midrange version of the weapons it received from the US last October.

(More Russia-Ukraine war stories.)

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