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The Donbass, “it’s a bit of a losing battle”, tell the fighters | War in Ukraine

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They are five sitting on a terrace in kyiv. Five bearded young men, dressed in green. They laugh very loudly. They are soldiers engaged against the Russian invader. The day before, two of them returned from the front.

Very tired, marked by what I saw in the Donbass, explains “Beaver”. He is a Montrealer in his thirties, an experienced soldier, who wishes to be referred to by his nom de guerre.

We literally traveled almost all of Donbass. We have seen how far the Russian positions are advancing, unfortunately. Positions which, every day, are getting closer to key cities like Sievierodonetsk.

The Montrealer befriended Ajay, an American of the same age, who served twice in Afghanistan. He claims to have eight years of experience in the US military.

My government wants nothing more to do with foreign conflicts. I came by myself to offer my experience and my time to Ukrainians. »

A quote from Ajay, an American fighter

The two companions spent a few weeks in combat units made up of foreigners before joining the Territorial Defense, a sort of Ukrainian reserve made up of volunteers.

They are in kyiv for a few days of rest after two intense weeks in the Luhansk region, one of the two regions that form the Donbass and where Russian speakers and separatists live.

The certainty that we were going to die there… The fighting is intense. It’s very dangeroussays Ajay. Russian artillery and air force strike every day. The Windows [de notre hôtel] trembled when the bombs fell nearby.

The impact of the shell raised a huge sheaf of earth less than 10 meters from a car on a country road.

A mortar shell explodes a few meters from the road and a car in Lysychansk, in the Donbass region, on May 23, 2022.

Photo: afp via getty images / Aris Messinis / AFP

The fighters were based in Bakhmout, one of the towns targeted by the Russians and deserted by civilians. They were to carry out surprise attacks against enemy positions. But one evening, they were the ones who were surprised.

We’ve rescued some soldiers trapped in the Izium sector. It was on our way back that we were attacked by Russian artillery. We were all convinced that we were going to die there. »

A quote from Beaver, a Montreal fighter

The fighters dug into the forest in hopes of escaping Russian drones dispatched to spot them. We were all screwed to the ground, not speaking, he adds. All around them, artillery explosions.

: a level of decibels that hurts the ears. No one said a word. Everyone was saying their prayers.”,”text”:”You could see the flames, it smelled of smoke, it smelled of gunpowder. And it was very loud: a level of decibels that hurts the ears. No one said a word. Everyone was saying their prayers.”}}”>We could see the flames, it smelled of smoke, it smelled of gunpowder. And it was very loud: a level of decibels that hurts the ears. No one said a word. Everyone was saying their prayers.

Answered prayers. A few days later, the two men returned to rest in kyiv. In their backpacks, they brought back this great scare and lessons from the front.

Undisciplined troops

They are cowboys, launches Ajay. He refers to the fighters he met in the Territorial Defense, and not to the soldiers of the Ukrainian army.

Some of his comrades-in-arms seemed to him less disciplined than professional soldiers. He evokes fighters who are sometimes drunk or drugged. Unaware of the risks.

A man in his thirties poses for the photo.

Ajay, an American fighter engaged with the Ukrainian forces.

Photo: TurnedNews.com / Richard Moss

: they leave the screen on. That’s the kind of thing you shouldn’t do. The Russians can see us.”,”text”:”At night, for example, they drive like crazy, their headlights sometimes on. Same thing for their cell phones: they leave the screen on. That’s the kind of thing you shouldn’t do. The Russians can see us.”}}”>At night, for example, they drive like crazy, the headlights sometimes on. Same thing for their cell phones: they leave the screen on. That’s the kind of thing you shouldn’t do. The Russians can see us.

Some, Beaver explains, lived through the war and fought with the Russians. But it was often in paramilitary units who already have major organizational flaws and who do not have the same standards of discipline.

Men have a good fighting spiritAjay points out.: they are not trained enough.”,”text”:”But they need better tactics. That’s why there are a lot of victims: they are not trained enough.”}}”>But they need better tactics. That’s why there are a lot of victims: they are not trained enough.

A Ukrainian fighter operates a machine gun from inside his shelter.

Some fighters are seasoned in the war that has raged in eastern Ukraine since 2014, but others are less experienced.

Photo: Getty Images / Anatoly Stepanov, / AFP

Beaver even goes so far as to denounce one of the methods of combat that would be used by the Ukrainians: attacking the adversary from places where civilians still live. The Russian responses in the middle of the city entail a risk of civilian casualties.

Western weapons with missing parts

Ukrainian troops would also lack modern weapons and ammunition. Moreover, according to what the two combatants observed, the equipment offered by the Western allies does not always make it to the front.

The Javelin is certainly the most popular model of anti-tank weapon in this conflict. However, according to the two men, it cannot always be used against Russian tanks.

For the Javelin, what we found was that there was no CLU, the computer system necessary to use the Javelin, which made shooting impossible, the weapon unusablelaments Beaver.

Two soldiers in fatigues, one of them carrying a Javelin in his hand.

A Ukrainian soldier with a Javelin anti-tank missile launcher

Photo: Reuters/Gleb Garanich

Ajay also noticed that the batteries that power the computer systems of these sophisticated weapons are often outdated. Too old. However, without a source of energy, this weapon is useless.

There would also be user manuals written in languages ​​not understood in Ukraine, equipment sent to places where it cannot be used. Or too close to the front, so quickly destroyed by Russian artillery.

As for the fighters hastily trained by the Westerners, Ajay believes that they are quickly rushed into battle, where they risk dying before they can train their companions.

The West thinks aid is getting there, but I haven’t seen that. There are a lot of logistical problems, a lot of units that don’t know how to use what is sent to them. »

A quote from Ajay, an American fighter

TurnedNews.com cannot verify these statements, which only reflect a very partial view of Ukrainian military efforts.

Western countries like Canada provide millions of dollars in ever more sophisticated military equipment, but little information circulates that these weapons are actually being used.

Reluctantly but based on their military experience, the two fighters draw a conclusion: insufficiently armed, Ukraine will lose the Donbass in the next few days.

The enemy, they recall, is equipped with modern weapons, has more artillery pieces and more planes. It’s a bit of a losing battle.

Beaver agrees; however, like Ajay, the Montrealer does not want to give up on the Ukrainians.

The people [que j’ai rencontrés] are ready to die for Ukraine. It’s a fight that’s probably lost, but still, that’s no reason to give up. »

A quote from Beaver, a Montreal fighter

The two promise to return to the front at the beginning of June. And if it’s not in Donbass, it will be in the south of the country, which is also under attack from Russian forces.

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