Avdiivka: Surviving and Pushing Forward
Small monuments to fallen soldiers are easy to find in Avdiivka
“We’d been speaking with guys, and then heard an explosion. Suddenly, shrapnel started to fall on our booth,” Ihor, a Ukrainian soldier said. “A piece of shrapnel or a bullet can hit you even on the outskirts.”
Another soldier, Ihor Ihnatenko planned to bring pieces of debris home as a reminder about the war. Now they serve as a small memorial to him. He was killed at the location where they now rest. Similar monuments are common in Avdiivka. Ukrainian soldiers who are stationed there say they will never forgive those who killed their friends.
“Anyone who comes to us (with bad intentions), would be brought home in a wooden coffin. We welcome those who come to us with a cake and sausages. And we will kill our enemies,” Ukrainian soldier Viktor said.
Viktor is a 58-year old soldier from Luhansk. He’s been on the front line for five years – and says that diplomatic agreements mean nothing to Russia.
“Any war ends in two ways: either by diplomatic means with the loss of territories, as it was in Finland before the Second World War; or by purely military means. This could return everything to the starting point, as it was before 2014,” he said.
From time to time, Russian-hybrid forces try to prevent Ukrainians who attempt to inch their way forward, from strengthening their positions. Ukrainian soldiers return fire.