Ukraine Soldiers Battle in Avdiivka Despite Critical Shortage of Weapons

In the chilling aftermath of the conflict near Avdiivka, a Ukrainian army surgeon faced the grim task of treating frostbite cases, indicative of the harsh conditions soldiers endure on the front lines. Examining a man’s frostbitten hands, the surgeon likened the damage to an unrecognizable, split, and bruised peach or, more starkly, to a rock.

This was the second instance of frostbite he encountered that morning in a clandestine medical setup, concealed within an unassuming cottage near the war-torn remnants of Avdiivka. With a somber expression, the surgeon predicted the probable loss of both hands for the afflicted individual.

As Russia’s invasion stretches into its second year, the atmosphere among Ukraine’s defenders is growing increasingly somber. Exhaustion, frustration over weapon shortages, and the realization that a swift military victory is unlikely are weighing heavily on the soldiers.
In the midst of this atmosphere, a bearded soldier burst into the 47th Brigade’s concealed field hospital, his voice filled with anguish and anger, announcing the loss of his best friend in the morning’s combat. Following closely behind him, two more wounded soldiers were ushered into the hospital through a different entrance.

Among the wounded was Vadym, 48, who had sustained shrapnel injuries to his upper arm during his unit’s assault on a Russian position in Avdiivka earlier that day. Reflecting on the intensity of the battle, Vadym described the situation as extremely challenging.
As the senior lieutenant surgeon, Vitalii, approached to assess Vadym’s wound, army medics swiftly began to remove his soiled uniform, revealing the extent of the injury inflicted in the ongoing conflict.

ISW map of Avdiivka

“It’s challenging. The enemy possesses a significant amount of resources, including various types of equipment, while we are severely lacking,” expressed 24-year-old Andrii, his face contorted in discomfort. He had sustained injuries when a Russian artillery shell struck his trench overnight, causing shrapnel to slice through his ankle.

Surgeon Vitalii, who had previously worked at a children’s hospital before the conflict, spoke with exhaustion about his experiences. He recounted the grim task of amputating limbs during Ukraine’s unsuccessful counter-offensive across Russian minefields last year. Now, he finds himself treating countless shrapnel wounds, a testament to the ongoing violence that fills his days and nights.

Andrii receiving treatment

Andrii receives treatment for a shrapnel wound to his ankle



“I implore the West to take more decisive action in supporting Ukraine because, sooner or later, their soldiers may find themselves fighting against the same evil that has invaded our country,” declared the individual.
In the northern region, two immense Ukrainian tanks thundered along a road marked by mud and snow, navigating through a village ravaged by destruction. They continued onward, heading towards the closest Russian lines, approximately 2km away.
After enduring months of conflict, the forces from the Kremlin seem on the verge of encircling the shattered remains of Avdiivka. Some Ukrainian soldiers, speaking privately, acknowledge the town—witness to some of the fiercest battles in the war—could succumb at any moment.
“We’re disheartened,” expressed Ukrainian officer Oleksii, a member of Ukraine’s 110th Mechanised Brigade, standing beside a substantial mobile artillery piece, while the echoes of Russian gunfire reverberated in the distance.

The Czech-supplied artillery, capable of holding and firing up to 36 shells simultaneously, was a regular contributor, firing 80 shells a day at Russian positions around Avdiivka last year. However, the current situation is different.
“Presently, we have two shells, but we lack the explosive charges for them…so we’re unable to fire them. At this moment, we’ve depleted our shell supply,” revealed Oleksii. He indicated that the scarcity of resources was widespread, significantly impacting the ongoing conflict in Avdiivka.
“We feel a tremendous responsibility for our comrades currently engaged in the town, armed only with assault rifles.” Drawing parallels to the ammunition shortages in early 2022, when he himself was wounded, Oleksii expressed concern.
“I’m anxious that there might be a similar surge in casualties as I witnessed in the hospital back then,” he remarked.
Back in the field hospital, the two wounded men were now appropriately bandaged. Vadym, the elder of the two, attempted to stand, insisting he was fit enough to return to the trenches with his comrades. However, the doctor insisted he needed to wait at least a week.


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