From our correspondent
Bakhmut – “Of course I am here, right? But where else can I be, since I studied medicine and can help treat our fighters? ” Maria M. is surprised when we ask her what prompted her to voluntarily leave with the medical units of the Ukrainian army a year ago . How can I stay at home, or perhaps escape abroad, when I know that many of my comrades have been recruited to stop the Russian invasion? When Putin decided to attack us, I was dumbfounded: I could not believe that this could happen in our time. Even Roman’s father, who is 48 years old and an intelligence officer, did not expect that the Russians really wanted to take over all of Ukraine. But we are now here, on the Bakhmut front, the hottest thing in the war now. We will not go far I will finish my master’s degree in Psychology and Trauma at Ternopil University only when we win. But the wounded in the field were my daily lessons,” he tells us at the little collection center for the wounded who were brought from the fields to the front lines of the northern trenches.
There is an alert 24/7. They reside in a country cottage facing the road, every two or three minutes the air is shaken by explosions that reverberate ominously over the horizon when it gets dark. Maria is 25 years old, she received a diploma in psychology from the University of Ivano-Frankivsk, her hometown is in the western regions of the country. Now take advantage of the breaks to follow the master’s courses remotely. “It’s not easy, but Starlink connections help a lot. We soldiers are interdependent even as enemy bombing brings large parts of the national infrastructure to its knees. The Russians are here, in front of us, less than six kilometers away. They are bombing us non-stop, even if I have to say the worst was a week ago, there were very dangerous moments, artillery and missiles made this area a hell. For 48 hours we treated hundreds of wounded people who needed to be able to make the ambulance trip to the hospitals in depth. 80% were hit by shrapnel, especially artillery, and only 5% were hit by bulletshe adds.
In the emergency room next door, we have just witnessed the arrival of 41-year-old infantryman Andrei, wounded by shrapnel in the neck and right shoulder, blood oozing down his chest. The doctors cleaned him, bandaged his arm, and then the ambulance drove for about half an hour to the most important regional medical point, where I settled him and prepared for a four-hour transfer to the main centers of Dnipro hospitals. How many injured? «No comment, data is forbidden», Maria and her colleagues respond, even though NATO orders that 200 Ukrainians are being killed and hundreds more wounded daily, the majority of them here, in the Pakhmut salient. Maria explains that they need bandages and bandages to stop the bleeding, as well as equipment to close lung wounds and disposable syringes.
For two days, the situation seems to have improved a bit. Russian orders announce progress and inflict heavy losses on the enemy. The General Staff in Kiev replied that it had killed more than 1,000 Russians in 24 hours. But here at the front the soldiers seem to be breathing heavily, the 120mm mortar batteries, that four days ago they were firing non-stop, are now so silent, that the regimental platoon finds time to cook a hot meal of sauerkraut soup accompanied by «vareniki», stuffed ravioli.
Maria moves as if she is at home. On quiet nights, he sleeps on a sofa in the dressing room. “Three months ago I met a boy of my age here,” he says, “and we have been together ever since. We don’t have much time to meet. But it is a condensed story: war helps distinguish between the important and the unnecessary and every choice becomes relevant.”
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