Kiev’s attempts to take the initiative and advance in the south of the country have resulted in heavy losses, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.
“They’re throwing everything against us,” said a 22-year-old Ukrainian soldier who said Russians were fighting with artillery, tanks, helicopters and mortars. “They have a lot of equipment but few men.”
The WSJ said it conducted interviews with eight Ukrainian soldiers who took part in fighting—and were being treated for injuries at a hospital behind the front lines.
The Russian Defense Ministry has described Ukraine’s offensive as a failure.
The Ukrainian forces lost over 350 personnel, as Russian warplanes and artillery were used for kinetic action against Kiev’s forces over the last 24 hours, the ministry’s spokesman said during a daily briefing.
Kiev also lost 31 tanks, 22 infantry fighting vehicles, 18 of other types of armored vehicles, eight armed pickup trucks, and 17 of other types of military vehicles, the statement said.
“We’re advancing in some areas and being battered in others,” said Pavlo, a 22-year-old Ukrainian soldier who was concussed in a battle on Tuesday and says he now hears a sound akin to a broken television in his head.
The head of the intensive-care unit where some of the soldiers were being treated said the military warned him of the offensive a week in advance, spurring hopes of imminent victories.
“But when they started bringing in such a large number of wounded, then, honestly, I felt sorry for them and I started wondering if this was worth doing at such a cost,” said the doctor. “I don’t know. There’s no right answer here.”
Ukrainian officials and military analysts have said that Ukrainian losses, even if the offensive is successful, could be high as they are assaulting an entrenched enemy with significant firepower that can quickly chew up troops.