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Inside Ukraine’s last stand in Avdiivka and its ‘road of death’

Seven Ukrainian troops describe the intense final days before their withdrawal from Avdiivka, Russia’s biggest victory in almost a year.
From left to right: Bandit, 27, a machine gunner in Ukraine's 3rd Assault Brigade; Schultz, 23, a soldier in Ukraine's 3rd Assault Brigade who held a firing position inside a residential building in Avdiivka; and Shved, 44, a soldier in Ukraine's 3rd Assault Brigade who was evacuated after suffering from three concussions, but was concussed again when a drone struck his evacuation vehicle on his way out of the city. (Photos by Alice Martins for The Washington Post)
From left to right: Bandit, 27, a machine gunner in Ukraine's 3rd Assault Brigade; Schultz, 23, a soldier in Ukraine's 3rd Assault Brigade who held a firing position inside a residential building in Avdiivka; and Shved, 44, a soldier in Ukraine's 3rd Assault Brigade who was evacuated after suffering from three concussions, but was concussed again when a drone struck his evacuation vehicle on his way out of the city. (Photos by Alice Martins for The Washington Post)

DONETSK REGION, Ukraine — On Feb. 17, Russia claimed total control of the eastern city of Avdiivka — its first significant territorial gain in almost a year.

The loss was a stinging defeat for Ukraine, which up until the last minute was still rushing troops to the city in a desperate last-ditch attempt to hold the Russians off.

By many accounts, the Ukrainian retreat was panicked and disorganized, with dozens feared left behind as Russian forces attacked in seemingly endless waves.

Seven troops from the 3rd Assault Brigade spoke to The Post about their final days under Russian assault inside the former Ukrainian stronghold. Their accounts drive home the urgency of Ukraine’s battlefield disadvantage as soldiers — far outnumbered by Russians — wait for Western weapon deliveries and troop reinforcements.

All soldiers are being identified by their call signs, in keeping with military rules.

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Author: Editors Desk, Siobhán O'Grady and Kostiantyn Khudov

Source: The Washington Post

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