DONETSK OBLAST – Just days before heading back to fight in the Battle of Bakhmut, a Ukrainian soldier Volodymyr, 54, said he felt ill-prepared.
“When they drive us to Bakhmut, I already know I’m being sent to death,” Volodymyr told the Kyiv Independent during his brief stay in Kramatorsk, a city in Donetsk Oblast some 25 kilometers west of the front line.
Volodymyr, an infantryman from the 93rd Mechanized Brigade, said he struggled to eat after fighting in Bakhmut for months. He looked shaken as he talked.
For two months, Volodymyr’s unit was tasked with guarding Bakhmut against small Russian assault groups creeping into the city. The brigade was constantly under mortar fire as soldiers were outdoors where shrapnels could wound or kill them at any moment.
“(The Russians) keep firing at us, but we don’t have artillery – so we have nothing to attack them back with,” Volodymyr said. “I don’t know if I will return or not. We are just getting killed.”
Ukrainian infantrymen interviewed by the Kyiv Independent described the fighting in Bakhmut as a desperate survival challenge against Russia’s “infinite” stocks of artillery munitions and manpower. With just their machine guns and rifles, they say they braced relentless Russian mortar and artillery attacks until their hideout was eventually destroyed…. (Read more)