Popasna and Druzhba

After the fall of Popasna, the Ukrainian troops withdrew to the lines of trenches in the Druzhba area, created in 2018. It is about five kilometres from the town captured by the Russians.

A group of new, young soldiers reach their positions in the village. You can see that these are young new volunteers.

Getting here by a field road from the second line, under constant fire, is already an experience, but the fire does not seem to have a break. You can still hear flying missiles overhead and the roar of explosions or the roar of shots from Ukrainian missiles coming out.

You can see the tension on the faces of the young soldiers. You can see and hear that the situation here is profound. Commanders and non-commissioned officers do their briefing. More friendly in style than the military. They try to give them courage and soothe them.

They instruct them on how to get to the position and the situation. After the briefing, the sergeant collects them and sets off across the meadows towards the trenches.

The trenches offer protection, but they stretch through the middle of the fields, and although it is only May, they are already hot and stuffy.

Mobile support units are stationed in the nearby village. These are experienced soldiers who are to react to the situation on the front and support the sections under heavy attack with a risk of breaking the line.

The Russians are shooting at the houses where they are located. One of the houses is hit, and two soldiers are killed. In the evening, soldiers from positions in the trenches come to the village to collect weapons and ammunition in case of a night attack.

The next night the Russians attack the trench positions and even manage to get into them, but they are forced out. Not for long. A few days later, the defence line was broken, the trenches were conquered, and the Russians cut off the road to Lysychansk and Severodonetsk. How many of these new soldiers survived those few days?