Ukrainian and international soldiers cower in a dank bunker less than a kilometer from Russian troops holding the occupied eastern city of Izium. Most nights, artillery pours down on them, rattling loose the plaster and filling the air with dust.
The Carpathian Sich battalion, a combination of Ukrainians and foreign nationals who responded to Kyiv’s appeal for assistance in confronting the invader, is at the forefront of attempts to halt the Russian army’s advance in eastern Ukraine.
One was recently captured nearly completely intact by the team. It must also cope with Russian drones, dubbed “black clouds” by the fighters, which assist guide lethal artillery bombardment into their positions.
“It’s getting a lot more difficult out here. The longer it goes on, the more exhausting it becomes “Conor, a British volunteer and former army medic operating on the frontlines, echoed this sentiment.
“They shelled at one, two, and four a.m. yesterday, which clearly disrupted our sleep schedule. But you must maintain your good attitude.”