Ukrainian troops on the frontline against the Russian invasion are killing wave after wave of poorly trained conscripts attacking their muddy trenches in grim “First World War” conditions.
As temperatures have dropped across the region fighting has become a slower-moving affair, with Ukrainian troops holed up in trenches and dug-outs along a broad front.
But Russian troops continue to press forward, rushing to the trenches in hope of getting close enough to lob in a hand grenade.
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One Ukrainian drone operator, named Meter, told The Times : “It’s just like the First World War… it’s crazy how many of them there are. If we kill them they just replace them.”
“They are taking grenades and AKs and trying to get as close as they can to just throw grenades into Ukrainian trenches,” he added.
“They send the less trained people in front, the ones who can barely carry the guns…. then the more highly trained people come.”
The advancing Russians as slaughtered by the score as Ukrainians more them down with machine guns from well-protected positions.
Little tactical advantage is gained from the deaths of these half-trained conscripts, apart from giving Russian commanders an idea of where the main Ukrainian gun emplacements are.
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The Russians who are killed outright are the lucky ones, as wounded soldiers are left stranded in no man's land. “If a Russian is injured, they’ll just let them freeze to death,” Meter said.
One of Meter’s comrades, Grigoriy Rubanovskiy, added that the poorly-equipped Russians have become “cannon fodder” in the brutal winter conditions: “In the summer it was easier for them to hide, but now there’s less tree cover.
“Now there’s just 20, 30 people running back and forth. They can’t hide… they’re just cannon fodder. They keep moving even if some of them are killed.”
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The Russian conscripts are given only the most basic training and equipment before being sent to the front line.
Some Russian families have had to find the equivalent of £800 to buy basic winter clothing for man called up in Putin’s latest wave of mobilisation.
But no amount of equipment can defend them against the biggest killer. Just as in the First World War, artillery remains by far the biggest threat to troops on both sides.
By the beginning of December, over 30,000 combat deaths had been recorded – most of them killed by artillery fire.
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