Drone footage shows devastation of Russia assault on eastern Ukrainian city

Months of relentless Russian artillery pounding have devastated a strategic city in eastern Ukraine, new drone footage obtained by the Associated Press has shown.

Barely a building in Chasiv Yar has been left intact – homes and municipal offices are charred, and a city that once had a population of 12,000 is now deserted.

The footage shows the community, which is set amid green fields and woodland, pounded into an apocalyptic vista.

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The apocalyptic scene in Chasiv Yar is reminiscent of the cities of Bakhmut and Avdiivka (Ukraine Patrol Police/AP)

The strategically important city has been under relentless attack by Russian forces for months.

Capturing it would give Russia control of a hilltop from which it can attack other cities that form the backbone of Ukraine’s eastern defences.

Russia launched waves of assaults on foot and in armoured vehicles on Chasiv Yar’s outnumbered Ukrainian troops, who have run desperately short of ammunition while waiting for the US and other allies to send in fresh supplies.

Rows of mid-rise apartment blocks have been blackened by explosions, punched through with holes or reduced to piles of timber and masonry. Houses and civic buildings are also heavily damaged. The golden dome of a church remains intact but the building appears badly damaged.

No soldiers or civilians were anywhere to be seen in the footage shot on Monday and exclusively obtained by AP, apart from a lone man walking down the middle of a road between wrecked structures.

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The church of St Boris and Gleb in Chasiv Yar, Ukraine, has been badly damaged (Ukraine Patrol Police/AP)

Chasiv Yar is located on high ground, offering Russia the possibility of a platform it can use to push towards larger cities that form Ukraine’s defensive belt in the eastern Donetsk region.

Capturing it would set the stage for a potentially broader Russian offensive that Ukrainian officials say could come as early as May.

Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg acknowledged on Monday that the delayed delivery of allied countries’ military aid to Ukraine has left the country at the mercy of the Kremlin’s bigger and better-equipped forces.

Ukraine and its Western partners are racing to deploy critical new military aid that can help check the slow and costly but steady Russian advance across eastern areas, as well as thwart drone and missile attacks.

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