(Donetsk region) A tourniquet around his arm to cut off blood circulation, Andriï, a wounded Ukrainian soldier lets out a cry of pain. “That means the arm is still reacting,” the anesthesiologist, Oleg, reassures him.

Andrii was injured on Saturday morning near the Bakhmout front line, the scene of the heaviest and deadliest fighting since the start of the Russian invasion.

To evacuate him, army doctors transported him to a specific location where he was then taken care of by a Ukrainian medical unit which took him to a medical center in the Donetsk region.

At first, the paramedics placed a tourniquet around Andriï’s arm on the way. Shrapnel tore part of his shoulder, causing an open fracture.

Then a team from the “Ulf” medical unit of the Da Vinci Battalion then took over inside the tank. Andriï grimaces, the pain is strong.

In the Donetsk region, the onset of warmer temperatures has turned the snow into hard-to-ride slush.

“The difficulty is this weather, because you can’t drive fast,” explains the 30-year-old doctor from the “Ulf” unit, also named Andriï.

At the medical center, the doctors lift the injured man and put him on a table, his body wrapped in a survival blanket.

The anesthesiologist, Oleg, tries to reassure Andriï. Without equipment to do general anesthesia, he must continue to keep him awake to prevent him from losing consciousness.

“Andrii, how are you feeling?” he asks her simply.

“I’ve had better days before,” the soldier replies sarcastically, before throwing up.

“It’s just a reaction to an antibiotic,” says Oleg. “We’re doing everything we can to make sure you get better,” he told the soldier.

A nurse, Liana, 25, wipes her face and asks, “Does it hurt, really hurt?” »

According to Oleg, the Ukrainian soldier lost “maybe a liter and a half of blood” within hours.

Before taking the road to Kramatorsk hospital, 25 kilometers away, the busy doctors around Andriï try to remove the tourniquet, before finally resigning themselves, for fear that he will continue to bleed profusely.

The purpose of applying tourniquets to open parts of the body is to cut off blood circulation and prevent the injured person from losing too much blood. But the risks are not without importance either.

Arm and leg injuries are among the most common, according to Oleg.

For Andriï, the surgeon, the important thing is to keep the wounded soldier alive, while admitting that keeping a tourniquet on for three hours is “long”.

However, he is optimistic that Andriï, the soldier, can survive without amputation.

“We had a case where the guy had (a tourniquet) for four hours and his hand is working (normally) now,” he says. And Liana adds: “Everything went very well”.

While the medical team is talking outside, a new call from the front arrives to pick up another injured person.

This time, an 18-year-old man with dark hair arrives, transported in an armored vehicle camouflaged by branches.

The medical team recognizes this immediately: two weeks ago he suffered a concussion in the accident of the car he was in.

Her complexion is pale. He suffered another concussion. Doctors prescribe medication and rest.

In addition to Andriï and him, five other soldiers arrive at the medical center that day.

“It’s just ‘non-stop’,” Andriï said, pleased with the care given to the concussed soldier. “That’s what our unit is good for: all the (handling) steps work perfectly, even in these conditions.”

“We work twenty hours (a day), 7 days a week, without rest,” adds Oleg, who has been there since last summer. ” This is a difficult work “.