“Ukrainian defenders are making progress south of Bakhmut,” the General Staff reports. “The areas stormed by the Ukrainian Defence Forces are a land dotted with shell craters, with no trees or bushes left. This makes the advance extremely difficult. Slidstvo.Info journalists spent a day at the evacuation point for the wounded of the 24th separate assault battalion Aydar, when the unit stormed the occupiers’ positions south of Bakhmut, to show the cost of liberating every 100 metres of Ukrainian territory.
This is described in a new video by Slidstvo.Info. The video has English subtitles.
ASSAULT AT DAWN
“Our people have already left. Since the night, groups have been moving out from here to attack. The first five wounded have already been brought,” Mykola says.
Mykola is a driver-paramedic of one of the evacuation crews. Slidstvo.Info journalists arrived at the evacuation point with an evacuation team that was supposed to replace Mykola and his partner after two days on duty, but in the end, both teams stayed on site. Because the assault that started at dawn means that the medics will have a lot of work today.
“Our vehicles are fully equipped. We have bandages, drips, systems — everything we need to provide emergency care. That is, on any day, not only during the assault, we are fully equipped,” says Vitaliy, who goes by the call sign “Surgeon”.
The place where the journalists and medics are waiting for the wounded soldiers is 8 kilometres from ground zero. Here, they can be examined for the first time after being taken from the front on armoured vehicles. If there are no critical injuries and all the tourniquets are properly applied, the defenders are immediately transported to the brigade’s stabilisation point. There, more complex manipulations can be carried out.
EVACUATION OF THE FIRST GROUP
“There are already more 300s (transl. — wounded),” says combat medic Max, looking at his phone.
All the medics are standing around near the medical evacuation point. The assault is still ongoing, so there is no idea when the wounded will be brought.
“It takes half an hour for the armour to get to the evacuation point, and another half an hour to get here. That is, it takes an hour just to get there. It also takes an hour to get the injured out of the position. This is not even taking into account mortar or artillery fire,” the Surgeon roughly estimates the time.
A couple of hours later, we hear the grinding of tracks. An armoured vehicle arrives at the evacuation point, but not with six soldiers. Another ten people are sitting on it.
The armoured fighting vehicle crashes into the iron pillar of the building, unable to slow down in time. The groans of the wounded can be heard from inside.
Everyone who was sitting outside jumps to the ground and scatters around the area. Someone is smoking, someone is asking for water.
“Where are the wounded?”, Max shouts, running up to the armour.
The first to limp out of the car is a soldier with his face and arm wrapped in bandages, bleeding.
The soldiers are quickly herded into the vehicles, which, raising dust, quickly move towards the stabilisation point.
“IT’S NICE TO COME OUT OF BATTLE ALIVE AGAIN”
About a dozen soldiers from the 5th Separate Assault Brigade remain at the evacuation point. They were in the assault with Adar. They are to be taken away later.
“I’m fucking fed up,” says a man with a dusty face. “They are all volunteers. They’ll donate 50 hryvnias to the Armed Forces. Come on, guys, take your balls in your hands and go fight, we’re f*cking tired… It’s nice to come out of the battle alive again. You will never understand this,” the soldier says, staggering from fatigue and apologising for the foul language.
This soldier has the callsign “Psycho”. He is from Dnipro and, according to him, has been fighting since 2015. The man smokes cigarette after cigarette and smiles.
“We were still quite lucky today. How many wounded do we have, just two of ours?” he asks his comrade-in-arms.
The latter nods in response. Both wounded were heavy, so they had to be carried for more than a kilometre under Russian shelling.
“THAT’S THE KIND OF ASSAULT”
The rest of the soldiers are not doing that well. The medics are told over the radio that the soldiers will have to withdraw.
“That’s the kind of assault… Well, where can you secure your position? However, there were also such assaults that there were no casualties at all, but here we failed to gain a foothold, and what can you do? It happens,” says Max, a combat medic.
Chat groups report at least five casualties.
Car after car of wounded arrives at the evacuation point, most of them with concussions and shrapnel wounds. They are quickly loaded into ambulances and taken to a stabilisation point.
It is not known how many more will come from this assault. Max tells the journalists that the second company has not yet left its positions because it cannot extract all the wounded. The day is coming to an end. The survivors will have to be taken away at night. This way, everyone has a better chance of survival, the medics conclude.
Almost every day, the Ukrainian Defence Forces storm the Russian positions near Bakhmut, trying to encircle the city. Every kilometre is a heavy price to pay. In total, 47 square kilometres have been liberated since the start of the Ukrainian offensive in the Bakhmut sector.