“They used everything against us,” the wounded 33-year-old Denys, whose unit eventually had to withdraw amid a barrage of mortar shells, cluster munitions and phosphorus shells from the Russian-held village, told the newspaper. “Who can survive such an attack for five hours,” added Denys.
“We lost five soldiers for every one of them,” added 30-year-old platoon leader Ihor, who ended up in hospital with a back injury when the tank he was riding in ended up in a ditch.
Many paid the price because their positions were revealed by Russian drones, which hovered at a height of a thousand meters, so that the soldiers could not hear them. Russian tanks then came out of the newly built concrete fortifications, destroying the infantry with the fire of their cannons, only to quickly return to safety.
The Ukrainians also helped detect Russian radar systems for retaliatory fire. As soon as they detected that the Ukrainians were aiming their systems at Russian targets, they opened fire on them.
He fired over 2,000 rounds from the machine gun
Mark Ayres, a 48-year-old former British soldier who works in the Ukrainian reconnaissance unit, confirms the severity of the fighting: “The fighting is pretty intense, there is a lot of shooting. We fought very hard and took the Russian positions we were supposed to take,” said Ayres, who reportedly fired over 2,000 rounds from an older Soviet PK machine gun.
He too ended up in the hospital when he was seriously wounded by shrapnel in the leg on the second day of the counterattack. Four other soldiers from his unit were also wounded.
34-year-old former US Marine Zafer Ronin, who fought with Ayres in Syria on the side of the Kurds, was also wounded in the head, abdomen and hand. He said that the morale of the Ukrainians at the front is “still high”, which he said contrasts with the Russians, who seem unprofessional and disorganized.
Both men arrived in Ukraine at the beginning of the war as volunteers. They were said to have been led to this by the courage of the Ukrainians to defend themselves against an unprovoked attack. The Warriors then received three-year contracts.
Western weapons are few and far between
Ayres praised the supply of Western weapons such as HIMARS rocket launchers, howitzers and Javelin anti-tank missiles. However, their number is not enough to overcome the firepower of the enemy.
“We’re constantly being pounded by artillery which makes it much harder, their artillery and armor are better than ours. Our attacks are more surgical, but much more limited.’
He added that despite the casualties on the front, Ukrainian forces are slowly but surely advancing: “It will not be fast, it is hard slow fighting meter by meter, position by position, because we have not acquired such resources to conduct a blitzkrieg with a lot of artillery and armor.” So we have to do it smartly and with as few losses as possible.”
According to the British secret service, Ukrainian forces managed to capture a handful of villages in the Kherson region thanks to tactical surprise.