HORRIFYING footage lays bare the shocking plight of soldiers caught up in Ukraine’s bloodiest battle.
The small city of Bakhmut is facing a fierce Russian onslaught from three sides – with Ukrainian forces fighting there claiming they have just a four-hour life expectancy.
Vladimir Putin’s butchers have been attempting to claim the eastern city for more than six months, but have been held off by stiff Ukrainian resistance.
But despite Ukrainian defenders continuing to push back, the harrowing reality of the battle can be seen in footage from the ground.
A once popular tourist destination, Bakhmut has largely been reduced to ruin.
The city has been hollowed out by artillery fire and levelled by carpet bombing – with its frozen ground carved up by craters and trenches.
Fresh footage shows soldiers locked in bitter battles with tanks.
Thick plumes of smoke can be seen rising from the city as tanks fire relentlessly and troops scramble for cover.
It also reveals a city razed to the ground, with buildings left as collapsed, smoldering wreckages and the ground soaked with blood.
Meanwhile, another clip shows flames erupting as huge explosions rip through the city.
According to soldiers on the frontline, avoiding being killed is near impossible as they are often outnumbered ten to one by Russian troops.
A Ukrainian reporter speaking to one Ukrainian fighter in the city was told: “The average lifespan for mobilised fighters in Bakhmut is four hours”.
Ukrainian officials have referred to their role on the battlefield as “cannon fodder”.
One soldier, Andriy, told CNN: “We were fighting for about 10 hours in a row.
“And it wasn’t like just waves, it was uninterrupted. So it was just like they didn’t stop coming.
“It was about 20 soldiers on our side. And let’s say 200 from their side.”
He described fighting the convict army as a scene from a zombie movie, adding: “They’re climbing above the corpse of their friends, stepping on them.”
Moscow is desperate to seize Bakhmut, as it could severely disrupt Ukraine’s military supply routes.
It would also open a door for Russia’s forces to drive toward key Ukrainian strongholds in Donetsk.
It comes as Zelensky on Wednesday begged Rishi Sunak to provide Ukraine with fighter jets in an emotional landmark speech to Parliament.
‘WINGS FOR FREEDOM’
In the grand Westminster Hall, Ukraine’s hero President pleaded for planes – “wings for freedom” – to help his country crush evil tyrant Putin.
In his first visit to the UK since Russia’s invasion, the President said: “I appeal to you and the world with simple and yet the most important words.
“Combat aircrafts for Ukraine. Wings for freedom.”
So far Britain, the US and Germany have refused to send aircrafts to Ukraine over fears of provoking Mad Vlad Putin.
But in a powerful plea to hundreds of MPs and peers, Zelensky implored Mr Sunak to think again.
He even joked: “Thank all of you in advance for powerful English planes.”
Zelensky added: “Great Britain, you and us both struggle for peace.
“Unfortunately, it is in human nature to allow evil. We must make sure it doesn’t stand up against humanity. It destroys and kills and breaks people’s lives.”
Meanwhile, Nato troops have taken part in terrifying World War I-style trench drills as they stand braced for war with tyrant Putin.
The chilling war games took place just 80 miles from the Russian border in -12C temperatures using the world’s most lethal tanks and high-tech weapons.