Before and after images show the devastation in Ukraine's city of Bakhmut.
The 10-month battle for the eastern city has been the longest and deadliest in the war in Ukraine.
Bakhmut was once flush with greenery. Now it's a gray city littered with skeletal buildings and brown earth.
The Ukrainian city of Bakhmut has been all but completely destroyed. Homes, schools, and businesses have been blown out by months of ceaseless combat and reduced to rubble, and most of the city's people are long gone. What remains is a scarred landscape where thousands of lives have ended.
Satellite images from Maxar, released May 17, highlight the scale of the destruction caused by the battle for Bakhmut, a city in eastern Ukraine's Donetsk region.
The horrific fight that began last summer is the longest and bloodiest battle in the war in Ukraine. The battle has seen some of the hardest and most intense fighting and tremendous losses, and it's not over. Neither side is backing away.
The Russian military and Wagner mercenaries began their siege of the city last August — though it faced regular shelling before that — and have been fighting to take control of the city for ten months. The Ukrainian army put up a fierce resistance, but it's unclear if they can hold out against the Russian assault.
On Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin praised Wagner for its fighting in Bakhmut, crediting them with the "liberation" of the ruined city. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy disputed that, with independent observers saying that the fight for control continues, though he conceded that the city exists now "only in our hearts."
While the city's ultimate fate remains uncertain, the following images capture how a thriving town of roughly 73,000 people became a war-torn, bloodstained battlefield.
Bakhmut was once a beautiful city full of leafy green trees until it became the target of Russia's ambitions and a symbol of Ukraine's resistance.
Nearly all the trees and greenery have been wiped out. Bombs, artillery, and incendiary weapons, among other things, have laid waste to the city.
A school and apartment buildings in Bakhmut, now the site of brutal urban combat, were surrounded by grassy lawns and trees.
The same section of the city now looks like a brown and battered wasteland.
Bakhmut's university buildings and radio tower were surrounded by homes before the war.
The university and surrounding buildings are now nearly unrecognizable. The buildings, now skeletal, have been devastated in the war. The radio tower now lays on its side.
A theatre and surrounding stores in Bakhmut were bustling with cars before the battle began.
Some trees remain in the city but most of its buildings have been destroyed as the Ukrainians and Russians trade fire daily. As a high-casualty fight, the battle has been described as a "meat grinder" by Ukrainian and Russian troops and "slaughter-fest" by outside military observers.
In an aerial view of the entire city from May 2022, Bakhmut had corridors of greenery between buildings.
The city's buildings now appear brown and much of the greenery within city limits is gone. Bakhmut has been a focal point for front-line combat in a war that, in a span of six months between December and May, claimed an estimated 20,000 Russian lives. The Ukrainian defense has also come at a heavy cost.
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