Life of Ukrainian Soldiers on the Front Lines
On July 9, Russian hybrid forces have violated the ceasefire in Donbas 17 times, using weapons banned under the Minsk Agreements. Despite the constant provocations by the enemy, the Ukrainian military do not surrender their positions. During the short lull in fighting, soldiers improve the defenses and talk to locals
This is the day to day life of Ukrainian soldiers on the front lines. They are always on alert and ready for enemy provocations. The tensions particularly flare-up after a new group of militants rotate to opposing positions.
“They switch the tired people for a fresh group and they start poking at our defenses. We had 82mm mortar shells hit here, but positions nearby were hit by 120mm shells and artillery,” Ukrainian Armed Forces soldier Roman said.
“They were running there with flashlights last night. They are checking. Checking if we are here or not,” Ukrainian Armed Forces soldier Vitaliy said.
Soldiers are not planning to leave. On the contrary, they are constantly improving their fortifications and working on their physical fitness.
Serhiy has been doing street workout for 9 years. Right now he can do 40 pull-ups in one go.
“It all started with a technical school. We had to pass the test — 17 pull-ups. I only managed 5. During summer I got to 15, just within 2 months. I was working out for 2 hours every day. Just working out on a pull-up bar. I saw the results and set myself a goal — more than 15 pull-ups. First was 20, then got to 30 and then to 43,” Ukrainian Armed Forces soldier Serhiy said.
A punching bag and a pull-up bar serve as a distraction from army problems. Serhiy says, though, that there is not much time for sports on the frontlines.
“At home, I used to work out for 1.5 — 2 hours. Here it is 20-30 minutes. You try to cram everything in such a small amount of time. But that is not enough to get to the same level of fitness and set bigger goals,” Serhiy said.
A field of sunflowers is near the positions of Ukrainian soldiers. Local farmers are getting ready for harvest.
“When tractors are here we warn them that there might be shellings. Sometimes the enemy uses outdated explosive ordnance that will hit the ground but will not explode. It will not be visible in the ground, but when the tractor will be riding around harvesting it might hit it and detonate it,” Roman said.
Soldiers say that just over the last few months four tractor drivers blew up on unexploded ordnance during harvesting. Last time was on July 4 in Stanytsia Luhanska.
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