– One hundred meters is how much Ukrainian troops advance on average daily in the offensive on the Zaporizhia front. He stated it 7 September the Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, and this is confirmed by the military consulted by EL PAÍS in three days of interviews in this sector of the war., in the southeast of the country. Each 100 meters that progress is at the cost of a high number of casualties. Like those suffered by Alexander's tank company, that in mid-August, in the seizure of a Russian position in the village of Robotine, They lost four of eight tanks. The crew of two of these were burned to death and the crew of the other two were able to flee, avoiding the corpses of the infantry that followed them to assault the enemy's trench..
Alexander's company waits in the rear to recover and receive reinforcements. They live camped in forests, next to their tanks, dispersed in small groups to avoid losing too many units in case of enemy bombardment. Alexander and the majority of the soldiers interviewed for this report do not want to provide their full names because the high command of the Ukrainian Armed Forces has imposed the law of silence in this sector of the war scenario.: except exceptional authorizations, The media cannot access less than 40 kilometers from the front.
The official reason is to protect journalists and that information about the counteroffensive must be secret for the operations to come to fruition.. At a military checkpoint in Novomikolaivka, small town that serves as a logistics base for the Army, An officer gives an example of what to avoid: A month and a half ago, A team of French journalists published information about units on the front. Two hours after publication, according to this military man's version, the Russians bombed the area.
But many soldiers do want to talk, not to reveal state secrets, but as therapy. Alexander was admitted to the hospital for two weeks for post-traumatic stress disorder and heart problems.; others were given a few days off. He and his companions are soldiers with hard experience in the almost 19 months of war: They fought in Kharkiv and, for months, a Bajmut, in the bloodiest battle of the conflict. But today the spirits are more touched, why advance 100 meters a day between the lines of Russian defenses is a superhuman feat. His company lives in the forest, and there they will continue, according to your forecasts, in the winter, because they do not foresee kilometer advances until December, and because the houses near the fighting are occupied by medical teams. The EL PAÍS representative has been able to verify that, compared to other fronts, in the region there are many more military equipment, field doctors and hospitals.
Attacking always involves more human losses than defending, at least triple, according to military theory. But no Army had faced the 800 kilometers of Russian defensive fortifications built in the last year, with ditches and anti-tank obstacles; trenches three meters deep connected to each other even with tunnels; with telephone cables that allow communication without radios and, therefore, without risk of being intercepted; concrete machine gun nests and a number of mines per square meter hardly comparable to that of other wars, according to experts.