Luganskoje, Ukraine – “My friend is dead”, said Oleksandr, a young light-haired Ukrainian soldier looking at the green stuffed animal attached to his bullet proof vest. The toy looked like it had been through a lot, but then so did the vest.
His equipment, however, looked like something from a decades-old war movie, than actual present-day combat gear.
This war is costing Ukraine more than a country already confronted with economic recession can afford. The Ukrainian government has repeatedly asked for international support and the reality on the ground shows that the country is struggling in the face of this unexpected war.
Approaching the frontline, private cars on the road become less frequent and only military vehicles can be seen passing by.
The asphalt is so damaged from the tanks that, what was once a modern road, looks and feels like a bumpy country road at best. The checkpoints become more numerous and the soldiers, less equipped.
Due to the escalation of the war, Ukraine has instituted a partial mobilisation to fill the gaps in its armed forces. On June 18, the Ukrainian government officially began mobilising its sixth and final wave of troops for active duty in the war in Eastern Ukraine.
Very few of them are professional military men.
“I want my year to be over and to go back home. I am a lawyer, not a soldier,” said 24-year-old Sergei.
Despite the ceasefire mandated by the Minsk II agreement, signed this year in February, fire along the frontline does not seem to have ceased at all. The Ukrainian army continues to lose soldiers on a daily bases.