A Ukrainian serviceman takes cover in a trench during shelling next to a 105mm howitzer near the city of Bakhmut, on March 8, 2023.Photo by ARIS MESSINIS/AFP via Getty Images
- Trench warfare has been a major element of fighting between Ukraine and Russia around the eastern city of Bakhmut.
- Photographs from the area show elaborate networks of trenches that slice through the earth.
Ukraine's grinding but steadfast defense of the country's eastern Donbas region is a battle in the trenches, where soldiers endure harsh conditions and the constant threat of artillery and gunfire, sometimes only a short distance away from the enemy.
Around the war-torn city of Bakhmut, where fierce fighting between Ukrainian and Russian forces has been raging for months, winding trenches shield and house Kyiv's troops along the front lines. The elaborate networks of hollowed-out earth — which both sides have used throughout the war — zig-zag and cross over themselves, sometimes proving to be a battleground for close combat.
A French photographer who documented life in Ukraine's trenches before the war previously described the fortifications in Ukraine's eastern Donbas as "endless bowels of Earth."
Here's what life looks like in the front-line trenches near Ukraine's bloodiest and most intense battle, the fight for Bakhmut.