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Ukrainian soldiers on the front line in the city of Bakhmut are fighting Russian attacks in dreadful conditions.

The Ukrainian commander of the Svoboda battalion, Petro Kuzyk, whose unit is one of those holding Bakhmut said his soldiers are fighting in fields “littered with corpses”, fighting in extremely cold conditions and in knee-deep water against Russia’s attacks.

Asked by NV news how big the human losses are so far, he replied: “They are colossal. They don’t even count bodies.

“The fields, the woods in front of the positions are all littered with corpses. I watched them: they dragged their people back to bury them, take off their warm sweaters, and start to put it on themselves. But, nevertheless, each assault group has a grenade launcher, a machine gunner, and their machine guns more or less perform their tasks. They have herds.

“I apologise for speaking slowly now, because I’m very cold – it’s making me dizzy. I’ve now left the first line (since I was called). I’m warming up in the car, I’m almost falling asleep, because I haven’t slept all this time. They charged yesterday, quite seriously. They felt a weakness in our defence, because (I will not name the numbers of the units, so as not to spoil their honour) there are units that are less motivated than ours. And yesterday they weakened our defence a little in the area just around the Bakhmut. Some units could not withstand this artillery onslaught and retreated.

“This is our principle: we, the Svoboda Battalion, do not retreat. And because of that, we found ourselves in a semi-surrounded situation, and we had a lot of work to do. In addition, it is a swamp full of mud. It is very difficult to evacuate the wounded or to deliver ammunition. The trenches are constantly deteriorating, and in this swamp they must be constantly rebuilt.”

He added: “Today is the first day without rain, but then and yesterday when it fell, all the water flowed into the trenches. And the shelling was such that it was impossible to get out of the trench, so the guys were constantly wet for a day or two. Plus the temperature is like this. Many are contused, many with pneumonia. But we hold our ground, and we defend. I see young guys standing with their teeth clenched. I would really like someone to write about their achievements, because few people in the country know about it.”

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