Ukraine agrees with Croatia on grain exports, renewed drone attack on Moscow, Iceland closes embassy in Russia. The news overview in the evening.
The descriptions by Ukrainian soldiers from the south of the country show how difficult Kiev’s offensive is at the moment. British reporter Maxim Tucker, who works for The Times, met a group shortly after the capture of Staromajorske, which was officially liberated over the weekend. The village is on the road to Mariupol.
Tanks and vehicles from the West suitable for evacuating the wounded
The tanks and armored vehicles supplied from the West are particularly suitable for transporting the wounded in the fight, which is being waged especially by the infantry. In the streets of the villages they are immediately attacked with armor-piercing missiles.
The Russians barricade themselves in every house and let the Ukrainians get up to 20 meters before they open fire, says a soldier. In addition, the gardens and cattle sheds are traversed by trenches.
The villages are like small fortresses. In order to conquer them, the Ukrainians have to largely destroy the houses and stables, which later gives less protection against counterattacks, it is reported.
Ukraine thought they had the majority – that was wrong
Assessing the situation in the villages is almost impossible. “We thought 20 Russians were holed up, but there were also 200 more hiding in the basements,” another soldier told CNN reporters. The Ukrainians thought they were outnumbered by 70 attackers, but that turned out to be wrong.
Once the Ukrainians have captured a trench, they are targeted by Russian artillery. This is followed by the attack of the Russian infantry, who want to recapture the trench. The Ukrainians then have to hold out and defend themselves for several days without support.
Russians ‘hold positions until death’
When the counterattack is repelled, the Ukrainians bring in fresh troops to finally secure the trench, fortify the position, and continue the attack. It has taken about a week to liberate a village. Between Mariupol and the front there are twelve more similar villages. “I hope they run once we get to their last line of defense,” says one of the Ukrainian soldiers. “Now they hold the positions to the death.”
By Benjamin Reuter