A fiercely pro-Kremlin journalist has published an interview with a Russian soldier fighting near Bakhmut that outlines the dire situation facing Moscow’s troops in the face of dominant Ukrainian forces.

Published by Alexander Kots in a post on Telegram on Tuesday morning, the soldier claims that a small area in the village of Klishchiivkarecently declared liberated by Kyiv – is still under Russian control.

“[We still hold] several houses in the north and northeast,” he says.

“The main battle is now to the east. Khokhols [a derogatory word for Ukrainians] approached the railway line and are gaining a foothold, we are attacking. And to the northwest, we are gaining a foothold, they are attacking.”

But there the relatively good news for Russia’s troops ends as the soldier details Ukraine’s devastating use of artillery and cluster munitions and its “amazing” ability to create solid defensive positions in the areas captured.

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“Their artillery works for them very accurately and competently. Clusters. They don't spare shells at all.

“Previously, they stopped working when we were within 150 meters of their positions. Now they hit us even when we are within 50 meters.”

The soldier notes that Ukraine is not using heavy equipment like tanks in attacks but is instead advancing in “small assault groups plus a strong reinforcement group.”

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The soldier then marvels at the speed at which these groups construct defensive positions, saying: “Overnight they build it up in such a way that it’s amazing – from scratch, a full-fledged indoor dugout or shelter for the foundation of a house.”

He then claims that any successful attempts to take Ukrainian positions are met with devastating artillery fire which “immediately razes them to the ground.”

Ending the post, he comes to a grim conclusion: “The advantage in artillery, observation and adjustment from the air is decisive for them.

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“Well, and the dominant heights, the undulating terrain is very bad for us.

“Plus, their electronic warfare is still stronger, although we also have fun moments for them in this regard.”

Though it’s not known exactly when Kots conducted his interview with the soldier, Ukraine announced the liberation of Klishchiivka on Monday, saying it had been “cleared of Russians.”

What is left of the village lies to the south of Russian-held Bakhmut. Ukraine’s forces are pushing around Bakhmut, and Klishchiivka is a tactically important village in its advance.

The news came just days after comes Ukraine’s forces recaptured the nearby village of the Andriivka. Both Klishchiivka and Andriivka are now uninhabitable ruins.

Ukraine’s 3rd Separate Assault Brigade at the forefront of fighting in the area over the weekend released a video of two soldiers fighting through the ruins of Andriivka, dodging heavy gunfire and mortars in a post-apocalyptic landscape.

Kots’ post on Telegram is not the first in recent days to paint a stark picture of the situation facing Russian troops on the front lines.

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Last week, a Russian politician wrote an extraordinarily frank account of the situation, detailing multiple shifts in Ukrainian counteroffensive tactics that Moscow’s forces are struggling to fight back against.

In the first part of the post, Andrey Gurulyov, a State Duma member and former deputy military commander, claims the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) have begun to overcome obstacles like vast Russian minefields that bogged down the first few months of Kyiv’s counteroffensive.

“The enemy has learned to work through our very well-made minefields,” he said.

“They competently clear them of mines, using artillery fire and using mine rollers.”

Echoing Kots’ post, Gurulyov also says Ukraine has stopped attacking in large groups and is now using what he describes as “squeeze-out tactics.”

“They are massively using cluster shells, inflicting fire on the strong points of our units, assault groups.

“They have a lot of the ammunition, and they are trying to burn out absolutely everything.”

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