Civilians from the Donetsk region are supposed to get to safety, at the same time the stream of ambulances going in the opposite direction towards the front does not stop. They are taking wounded soldiers to other parts of Ukraine for further medical care, reports the British newspaper The Times.
One of them is Dima Filin, commander in the Ukrainian army, who is said to be recovering from a shrapnel wound to his head in Kyiv. The 47-year-old complained to the newspaper about the lack of supplies. “We fight when we have grenades. Otherwise there is nothing we can do,” he described the situation at the front. A month ago his artillery unit would have fired 150 shells a day. At the moment there are only ten bullets a day – or none at all.
“We couldn’t do anything. For the past four days, we’ve only been hiding from the Russian drones,” Filin said. “We were being chased like rabbits by the Russian artillery.”
For more than four months, Ukraine has been defending itself against the Russian war of aggression. While Putin’s troops were still trying to reach Kyiv at the beginning of the invasion, the fighting is now concentrating on the Donbass in the east of the country, where pro-Russian separatists have been occupying large areas since 2014. After heavy fighting, the Russian army completely conquered the Luhansk region about a week ago. National Guardsman Helena Maksyom and her unit stayed there for 40 days before being ordered to withdraw, she told the Times.
“Many were desperate. You had the feeling that you could die at any moment,” the newspaper quoted the soldier as saying. She and her unit were also out of weapons. “We kind of felt forgotten. Forgotten in this country with this constant shelling, fires and missiles.”
“When we were recruited, our attitude was very good. We knew where we were going and we were ready to be killed,” the newspaper quotes a young man named Alex, who decided to fight after the aggressive war began. “But when we ran out of cartridges, everyone got very depressed. It was terrible,” the window maker from Kyiv continued. “You see, the mood is bad,” he added. Sometimes his unit didn’t have any grenades to return the Russian artillery fire, the young man said. “But we will fight as long as we have guns.”
Since the fighting began, 40 percent of his comrades have fallen. A friend had his leg blown off right next to him, Alex told the Times.
“We see a lot of injuries to the extremities, head injuries, eye injuries,” the newspaper quoted general practitioner Ivanna Chobaniuk as saying. Before the particularly badly injured are transported further, they would be stabilized in a field hospital near the front. Some days her team would treat more than 100 people.
The injuries are mostly “caused by heavy artillery fire and rocket attacks, all the shrapnel. And also pressure trauma from the blasts…unfortunately not all of them survive,” the 29-year-old medic told The Times. Just recently, an adviser to President Volodymyr Zelenskyj put the number of Ukrainian soldiers killed every day at 200. The exact number of dead fighters is unclear – Russia is also keeping silent.