Kiev frantically shifts forces north. “There was no preparation”

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Fierce fighting continues near Kharkov as Ukrainian forces try to repel the Russian offensive. In the face of a new enemy attack, Kiev had to redefine its military goals – writes the BBC. Soldiers from many other parts of the front were hurriedly sent north, among them Oleksiy. – Everything happened in a rush, there was no preparation – says the soldier.

Kiev is still waiting for more military aid from the West. Ukrainian commanders believe that Russia is trying to seize the moment and expand the battlefield in order to further disperse the defending Ukrainian forces. That is why Moscow has been conducting a ground offensive towards Kharkov for more than a month, writes the BBC.

“Hell” on the Dnieper

Oleksiy – a Ukrainian soldier whose real name has been changed – had been fighting for months on a thin strip of land on the eastern coast of the Dnieper River in the south, in the Kherson region. There he fought to maintain a foothold, with the river on all sides or Russian forces firing at him.

For six months, the soldier described conditions on this marshy riverbank as “hell.” “We managed to hold the bridgehead, but no supplies arrived and we never once managed to break through the Russian lines,” Oleksiy told the BBC.

As he reports, the area there resembles a lunar landscape, where buildings and vegetation have been destroyed, and in the scorched earth you can only see bomb craters. Maintaining this bridgehead has cost the Ukrainians a lot. “We destroyed a lot of Russian equipment, and they killed many of ours,” says Oleksiy. “We left our best people by the river,” he adds.

Kharkov offensive

However, as the next Russian offensive on Kharkov began, Kiev was forced to redefine its goals. It frantically began to draw forces from other sectors of the front, including Oleksiy, to defend its second largest city.

Consequences of Russian bombing of Kharkiv, UkraineEPA/SERGEY KOZLOV

– Everything happened in a hurry, there was no preparation – admits Oleksiy. – Everyone is here now: the marines, the air force, the border guard, the regular infantry, the territorial defense and the national police – he lists the formations with which Kiev is trying to stop the Russians near Kharkov.

The Ukrainian soldier also speaks of a “huge change” in the nature of the fighting. He adds that “there are also more drones in the sky compared to the eastern bank of the Dnieper.” “They respond to our every move with drone and artillery fire,” he reports.

Oleksiy claims that the promised American military aid gradually began to flow into Ukraine, but not all of the supplies reached the sections of the front where he had to fight.

Streets of Kherson after Russian shelling Drop of Light / Shutterstock

“Nobody wants to fight and nobody wants to die”

In Ukraine, it was hoped that the new law on mobilization, which came into force in May, would relieve some of the burden on soldiers on the most difficult sections of the front. – This will not change anything – says in an interview with BBC Boston, the commander of the flamethrower unit still fighting on the eastern bank of the Dnieper. Boston is his military codename, the BBC does not reveal his real identity.

“People should join the military at age 20,” Boston says. – But there is a problem because many men went abroad to avoid conscription. Nobody wants to go back, nobody wants to fight and nobody wants to die, he adds.

As the BBC adds, as a rule, a conscript will never be as motivated to fight as a volunteer. Plus, it's easier to encourage your troops when the fights are going your way. In the case of the Ukrainian side, especially on the eastern bank of the Dnieper, unfortunately the situation is different, says the British broadcaster.

– Those who were forced to defend their country are yesterday's civilians, said Dmytro Pletenchuk, spokesman for the Southern Ukraine Defense Forces, in an interview with the BBC. – It's obvious that they will have a different view of the army – he adds.

Destruction in the Kharkiv regionPAP/EPA/SERGEY KOZLOV

Main image source: Anadolu



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