DONETSK, May 22. /TASS/. Ukrainian military personnel booby-trapped the basements of dozens of apartment buildings and private houses before retreating from Artyomovsk (known as Bakhmut in Ukraine), a Donetsk People’s Republic’s (DPR) law enforcement official told TASS on Monday.
"Bomb disposal engineers examining Artyomovsk neighborhoods have found dozens of basements filled with explosives. This goes both for private houses and apartment buildings. In some cases, the presence of civilians hiding from shelling attacks in such basement spaces has complicated mine clearance operations. The Ukrainians booby-trapped the area during their retreat, paying no heed to [the safety of] civilians," the official said.
According to the DPR law enforcement official, the largest volume of explosives was found in the western outskirts of the battle-ravaged city. Explosives were put inside household appliance boxes and placed in between utility systems in the basements of apartment buildings. The official specified that mine clearance operations were taking place in phases.
Artyomovsk, located in the northern part of the DPR, had served as a key logistics hub for supplying the Ukrainian military in the Donbass and was a major fortified Ukrainian outpost. The battle for the city, which began on August 1, 2022, and ended on May 20, 2023, has proven to be one of the biggest battles to date during Russia’s special military operation.
Yan Gagin, advisor to Acting DPR Head Denis Pushilin, told TASS earlier that Ukrainian troops had booby-trapped major infrastructure facilities when retreating from the western outskirts of the city, which resulted in the death of dozens of civilians, including children. Pushilin, in turn, said that very few buildings remained intact in the battle-scarred city, but vowed that it would be fully rebuilt.