Wounded Ukrainian soldiers reveal steep toll of Kherson offensive

Briefly, before getting to the Washington Post article, let’s talk about the Kherson offensive. Very briefly. This “offensive” was undertaken to impress western benefactors at great expense to the soldier leading the fight. In plain talk Ukraine turned largely non professional fighters into front line fodder

This article appeared yesterday at Washington Post

SOUTHERN UKRAINE — In dimly lit hospital rooms in southern Ukraine, soldiers with severed limbs, shrapnel wounds, mangled hands and shattered joints recounted the lopsided disadvantages their units faced in the early days of a new offensive to expel Russian forces from the strategic city of Kherson.

The soldiers said they lacked the artillery needed to dislodge Russia’s entrenched forces and described a yawning technology gap with their better-equipped adversaries. The interviews provided some of the first direct accounts of a push to retake captured territory that is so sensitive, Ukrainian military commanders have barred reporters from visiting the front lines.

“They used everything on us,” said Denys, a 33-year-old Ukrainian soldier whose unit fell back from a Russian-held village after a lengthy barrage of cluster bombs, phosphorous munitions and mortars. “Who can survive an attack for five hours like that?” he said.

Denys and eight other Ukrainian soldiers from seven different units provided rare descriptions of the Kherson counteroffensive in the south, the most ambitious military operation by Kyiv since the expulsion of Russian forces at the perimeter of the capital in the spring. As in the battle for Kyiv, Ukraine’s success is hardly assured and the soldiers’ accounts signaled that a long fight, and many more casualties, lie ahead.

“We lost five people for every one they did,” said Ihor, a 30-year-old platoon commander who injured his back when the tank he was riding in crashed into a ditch.

Ihor had no military experience before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24. He made a living selling animal feed to pig and cow farms. His replacement as platoon commander also has no previous military experience, he said.

The soldiers were interviewed on gurneys and in wheelchairs as they recovered from injuries sustained in last week’s offensive. Some spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid disciplinary action. Others, like Denys and Ihor, agreed to reveal only their first names. But most spoke plainly about the disadvantages they faced.

Russia’s Orlan drones exposed Ukrainian positions from more than a kilometer above their heads, they said, an altitude that meant they never heard the buzz of the aircraft tracking their movements.

Russian tanks emerged from newly built cement fortifications to blast infantry with large-caliber artillery, the wounded Ukrainian soldiers said. The vehicles would then shrink back beneath the concrete shelters, shielded from mortar and rocket fire.

Counter-battery radar systems automatically detected and located Ukrainians who were targeting the Russians with projectiles, unleashing a barrage of artillery fire in response.

Russian hacking tools hijacked the drones of Ukrainian operators, who saw their aircraft drift away helplessly behind enemy lines.

Ukraine has discouraged coverage of the offensive, resulting in an information lag on a potentially pivotal inflection point in the nearly seven-month conflict.

I’m wondering why it is Ukraine is not allowing for coverage of this ambitious and claimed successful offensive

When Ihor fired on Russian soldiers with his Kalashnikov rifle this week, he said, it was his first time shooting at a human being. “You don’t think about anything,” he said. “You understand, if you don’t do it, they will do it.”

Other soldiers won’t be returning to the battlefield.

Oleksandr, a 28-year-old former construction worker, lost his arm in a mortar blast during the counteroffensive last week.

The Ukrainian soldiers said they had to carefully ration their use of munitions but even when they did fire, they had trouble hitting targets. “When you give the coordinates, it’s supposed to be accurate, but it’s not,” he said, noting that his equipment dated back to 1989.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Ukraine’s forces retook two villages in the Kherson region, and one of his aides posted an image of the Ukrainian flag being hoisted over the village of Vysokopillya over the weekend.

“Ukrainian flags are returning to the places where they should be,” Zelensky said in a video address. But it was impossible to gauge what progress Ukrainian forces have made in their push to expel the Russian invaders from Kherson.

“If we don’t stop them, they’re going to just rape and murder our people like they did everywhere else,” said Oleksandr’s roommate in the hospital, a 49-year-old conscripted soldier who asked to be called by his nickname, “Pinochet.”


Despite the ban on media visits to the front line, there were signs that Russia’s grip on Kherson might be loosening.

Ban on media visits, but, there were signs?

Kyiv is hoping that the Kherson counteroffensive will boost national morale and demonstrate to Western governments that their billions of dollars in economic and military assistance are paying off, even as sanctions against Russia have raised energy prices and inflation and heightened fears of an even more expensive winter.

As I’d suggested initially and it appears this deadly show of attack did pay off for Zelensky.

The Ukrainian claims of retaking villages such as Vysokopillya could not be confirmed, though soldiers interviewed said they were able to advance into some previously Russian-controlled villages. Those soldiers declined to name the villages, citing instructions from their superiors.

A group of Washington Post journalists who traveled within three miles of Vysokopillya, in northern Kherson, on Monday were prevented from entering the village by Ukrainian troops and could not ascertain its status. A local official said Ukrainian and Russian forces were still battling for control.

A clear picture of Ukraine’s losses could not be independently assessed.

When it comes to casualties, Rob Lee, a military analyst at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, said Ukraine must make sure it retains a fighting force large enough to fend off Russian advances in the east, given Moscow’s far larger armed forces.

If they’re taking heavy casualties and it continues for a long period of time, it can be a problem,” Lee said.

Ukraine’s reliance on inexperienced soldiers is also a vulnerability but not one that is exclusive to its forces.

Each soldier said it was impossible to predict when Kherson might be liberated, and many said it would depend on when the Ukrainians receive enough artillery from allies.

When one soldier appeared uncertain if the counteroffensive would be worth the toll it has taken, Oleksandr, who has cultivated a reputation as the “hospital comedian,” said it was important to maintain a positive attitude.

“You have to make jokes to keep your spirits up. We can have this outlook because we’re Ukrainians,” he said. “We’re kind if you don’t touch us.”

We don’t know that the soldier who made the statement was joking, but, Oleksander is there to inform the readers it’s important to maintain a positive attitude and infer the soldier who expressed uncertainty was joking


A Ukrainian advance into this region puts its forces within striking distance of cutting off supplies for Russian forces in Izyum and possibly surrounding them.

Zelenskyy did not in his address give the names of the cities and towns recaptured.

Now is not the time to name the settlements to which the Ukrainian flag is returning,” he said.

I’d think it would be the time for Zelensky to name towns recaptured?

5 replies on “Wounded Ukrainian soldiers reveal steep toll of Kherson offensive”

Hi Penny:

I’m embarrassed to say that I still can’t take the Ukraine proxy war on Russia seriously. IMO, so much of it is staged farce/tragi/comedy. From the trans former high heeled go go dancer Zelensky…to all the fake news stories about Putin’s imminent demise.

This war is a war on Europe as much as it is a war on Russia. Using the Ukraine war to sanction Russian energy products and thus freeZing the Europeans in the dark of the coming winter.

Yet the Sheeple stupidly raise Ukraine flags to that.

“This war is a war on Europe as much as it is a war on Russia.”

It is, it really is! Was it kaz that said it seems Germany is being targeted?
That’s how it looks!
Poland has recently been asking Germany for WW2 reparations, but, not Ukraine?!
Hello?! How many Poles did the Ukranazis massacre???

Yep that was me with regards to Germany, I first thought it was Europe as a whole, but the others seems to be getting softer blows than Germany.

You are right with that statement. Even though France has though relations going with Africa, it still has different channels to work with. And can rely on Nuclear Power.

While Germany and there are conflicting views on the next point. Is but a satellite state of the USA. And has also been a piggy bank for Israel(reparations). They might have decided that the Usefulness of Germany is passed and that it is time for their wealthy generation to suffer as revenge for Jews and others who suffered(including families of soldiers) through ww2.

I personally have no skin in this game. And don’t like indiscriminate revenge based on ethnic roots. Revenge should always be a specific target, when Collateral starts than you have lost as well.

Besides this we have an horrible combinations coming up.
Cold Weather -> Gas Rationing -> Blood veins Shrink -> Those strange blood clot formations due to vax blocking blood flow ?

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