Ukraine can be heavy on Russia in these three ways

Andrew Harding, from eastern Ukraine, BBC News

Russia-Ukraine war: A lanky 19-year-old Ukrainian soldier lying on a stretcher in an ambulance let out a moan as the anesthesia wore off. As soon as he regained consciousness, the hand of this young soldier lying in mud-stained clothes first went to the oxygen mask on his mouth. He tried to remove the mask and moaned, “Give me my rifle.”

Doctor Inna Dimitra pats the young soldier on his pale cheeks and says, “This is how soldiers are in most cases, there is a lot of mental stress.”

The young 19-year-old soldier faints again as the ambulance carrying him speeds around a bend in southeastern Zaporizhia, away from the frontline. The name of this young soldier is Oleh.

A Russian mortar had exploded near his trench on Friday morning, hitting Oleh in the lower back. It is possible that due to this his spinal cord was also damaged.

Dr. Inna Dimitra works in a private hospital affiliated with MOAS, an organization funded by Western countries.

“Oleh’s condition is stable but serious. We get many cases like this,” she says. She says that there have been about half a dozen such cases in the recent past.

A BBC team gets close to the heavily guarded southern frontline as Ukraine escalates its counter-offensive against Russia.

Situation of Russia and Ukraine on the Frontline

Casualties in Ukraine have been mounting since the start of the counteroffensive. Many soldiers and analysts are now wondering whether Ukraine can get any advantage in this. They are of the opinion that Russia has strengthened its defense line by sending logistics and weapons during the winter, whether it will be easy for Ukraine to penetrate it.

“We may lose this game without more help from the West,” says Ukrainian soldier Kirillo Potras.

In the year 2020, due to a Russian landmine, the lower part of his left leg had to be amputated. But he is once again in the battlefield. Potras says that here Russian soldiers have laid landmines on a large scale which are proving to be a challenge for him.

He says, “Russian soldiers are in large numbers. They also have anti-tank guns in large numbers and they also have missile systems.”

It’s been a month since the retaliatory strike, but many experts and soldiers are questioning the effectiveness of this operation. They say that the initial phase is not going according to plan. They say that the nearly thousand kilometer long frontline will not be broken at the speed with which Ukraine got successes last year.

In the last few weeks, I have visited the frontline in three different places and met different people.

We can divide the opinion of these people into three big parts – the first one who believes that Russia’s defense line is like tin, the second one who believes that this defense line is like wood and the third one who believes that it is glass. is like

About two weeks ago, a doctor working in a field hospital in Bakhmut, Donbass, pleaded with me to be like a tin can of Russia’s defense line.

Amid echoes of gunfire and bombs, he told me that casualties in Ukraine were rising. He warned that Russia had enough time to strengthen its defense line, sending a large number of troops there.

They say that Ukraine may be able to push Russia back a little, maybe ten kilometers, but it will have to work hard to weaken Russia’s hold on the eastern and southeastern parts of Ukraine. .

He says with despair, “I think this matter will not be resolved on the battlefield. It can be resolved only with political settlement.”

The second argument about the Russian defense line was that it was like wood, meaning it could break, shatter but not be completely destroyed.

A man told me this in Velika Novosilka, a three-hour drive southwest of Bakhmut.

In the mountains and plains overlooking the Black Sea in the country’s south, Ukrainian troops are slowly advancing, facing unexpected attacks and making a slow advance across plains riddled with Russian landmines. They are winning small parts like small towns and villages.

“I’m a true believer, but some might call me a pessimist,” says 36-year-old soldier Artem, amid the rumbling sound of Ukrainian jets.

They say that the morale of the Russian troops was low and that Ukraine may get some headway in the coming months.

But he says that the kind of success that Ukraine got in the counter-offensive last November, nothing like that is seen to happen.

They say that if there is an attempt to break Russia’s defense line, then it is not known what price Ukraine will have to pay for it. He says, “The media and society are in a hurry, but worse can happen.”

It is clear that troops near the frontlines and those involved in ground operations in the Ukrainian counteroffensive are disillusioned about the war.

You can say that he has more experience than others and his opinion is based on the ground situation. But it is also important to say that being on the frontline, these soldiers do not see the big picture, rather they focus on only a small part of a larger military operation.

third argument

Western military analysts such as Mick Ryan and well-known generals such as Sir Tony Radakin, Chief of the British Armed Forces, describe the Russian defense line as like glass.

They believe that the counter-offensive has begun and is proceeding according to plan. In a few weeks, or even months, Russia will be weakened and Ukraine will be able to strategically bring large parts under its jurisdiction and maybe even reach near Crimea.

Those who follow this argument say that we need to be patient and not get discouraged. He says that if Ukraine’s capability to launch airstrikes is reduced, it will not be able to destroy the Russian “operation system” in the early stages as quickly as it would like.

The Ukrainian military is using surface-to-air missiles and attacking Russian positions in as many places as possible.

His effort is to stop the Russian army as much as possible, reduce its numbers and destroy its weapons.

In the UK Parliament this week, Sir Tony Radakin explained Ukraine’s strategy in the war. He said that Ukraine is adopting “Starve, Stretch and Strike” (force the enemy to starve, prolong the struggle and then attack) and that the Russian army has lost half its strength to fight. .

On the other hand, at the field hospital where we met 19-year-old Oleh as he was being taken by ambulance to Zaporizhzhya, we also met a Ukrainian doctor. He told us to use only his first name, ‘Yehwen’.

Like most of the soldiers and officers we’ve met over the past few days, he is optimistic about Ukraine in this war.

Sitting outside a field hospital, Yevhen said with a smile on his face amid the sound of explosions, “Everyone is waiting for a big victory. We believe in ourselves and we are waiting. We know that everything is going to be fine It will happen. We just need to be patient.”

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