REPORTING. “Together, we will liberate our lands!” : before the counter-offensive, learning combat tactics for these Ukrainian army volunteers

In the region of Zaporijjia, while a unit is training in shooting, further in the forest, the infantrymen of the 110th infantry brigade of the territorial defense learn the basics of advancing in enemy terrain, under the orders of Hund, an instructor from Canada. “These soldiers do not know basic military techniques. They are civilians. They enlisted on February 24, 2022, and on the 25th, they were on the front lines digging trenches which they have defended for the past 14 months. “, explains Hund. 14 months of trench warfare without ever seeing the enemy, or using his automatic rifle.

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But the conflict will change its face, assures this soldier who calls himself Gomel, in his fifties, and who has a little trouble catching his breath after the exercise. “Ukraine is preparing its counter-offensive, so it’s very important for us to work on the collective, the shooting, the tacticshe explains. If we don’t hunt those Russian pigs ourselves, no one will do it for us.”

The soldiers say they are ready to recover their land even if they are afraid, knowing that 20 to 50% of them will fall during the assault.  (YACHAR FAZYLOV / RADIO FRANCE)

Like Gomel, Balabol, he too comes from a territory occupied by the Russians, and he already dreams of participating in its liberation, whatever the cost: “Defending is always easier, that’s what we’ve been doing since the start of the war. But now we’re the ones who are going to attack the Russians and they’re waiting for us.”

“In any assault, there is a minimum of 20% human casualties, sometimes up to 50%. We are afraid, of course, but we have to! It’s time to attack.”

Balabol, infantrymen of the 110th brigade

at BlazeTrends

On Saturday, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said: “It’s time to take back what is ours”, a way to raise the tension a little more around this counter-offensive announced as imminent, in the south and east of the country. So, to master this fear, they train again and again: how to attack a trench, a street or a building to dislodge the enemy?

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Soldiers from the 110th Home Defense Infantry Brigade practice taking a trench.  (LAURENT MACCHIETTI / RADIO FRANCE)

This time, the instructor is Oleksandr, who was trained in assault techniques for four months by NATO in Latvia. “I decided to share my skills with other soldiers, but I will leave the training center in two days. I have to join my new unit, he announces. They too, I will train them in combat, and together, we will liberate our lands. Forward, everyone!” Everyone here is just waiting for a green light from their staff to go on the attack. The only certainty: it would still take months to complete the training of all the soldiers of the 110th brigade.

Camille Magnard’s report with Laurent Macchietti and Yachar Fazylov


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