Ukrainian Mortar Teams
Martial law did not change the routine of the combat arms on the frontlines of Donbas. Ukrainian mortar teams are always on guard
“Our work is to cover our infantry when guys from the opposite side are trying to capture our positions shooting a lot,” Stepan, a Ukrainian soldier, said.
During quiet periods, the servicemen practice loading mortars.
Houses along the Ukrainian-controlled part of the front line are littered with shrapnel and bullet holes from enemy attacks.
To be able to respond swiftly, soldiers always keep their weapons ready.
“After you shoot you have to clean the barrel. It has to be always clean. Even if you did not fire you have to clean the barrel since the mortar is susceptible to rust because of the condensate,” Ukrainian soldier Maksym said.
Maksym is 23 years old. Five years ago, his life was transformed after joining the anti-government protests against then-president Viktor Yanukovych. After being expelled from university for missing so many classes, he volunteered for the army and now holds the medal “For Courage.”
“The army became my home. I have to defend my country from the enemy so that my relatives could stay at home, could continue normal life, as they lived before the war,” Maksym said.
Stepan graduated from two universities, a European and an American one. He speaks English and Spanish and used to have a prestigious job in the United Arab Emirates.
“My family is here, in Ukraine. So I decided to come back,” he said.
Apart from military service, Vitalii – another Ukrainian soldier, is involved in humanitarian work.
“Right now we are starting a project of a civic organization that will work on building cheap housing for IDPs and war vets,” Vitaliy said.
Answering the question of UATV correspondents, how does he manage to fight and take part in social initiatives, Vitaliy said that if the person really wants to do something impossible it becomes possible.
The soldiers here say the combined Russian military and separatist forces have more powerful weapons, despite them being banned under the Minsk agreements. For now, it is quiet, but the mortar teams are ready to respond if necessary.