Ex-Marine Describes Ukrainian Front Line


Ukrainian Military | Image by Oleh Dubyna/Shutterstock

A former U.S. Marine recently gave a firsthand account of what is happening on the front line of Ukraine’s effort to keep the strategically important city of Bakhmut out of Russian hands.

In an interview with ABC News, Troy Offenbecker described what it was like fighting alongside Ukrainian forces against the Russian offensive in the Donbas region.

This campaign centered on Bakhmut and Soledar has been considered one of the war’s bloodiest.

Currently a member of Ukraine’s International Legion, Offenbecker described the front line as a “meat grinder” where soldiers only survive “four hours.” As he told ABC during the interview, the situation may worsen for Ukrainian soldiers, with casualties piling up and no respite from the relentless artillery shelling.

The Russian forces have been battling around Bakhmut for several months and have slowly made gains around the city. Nearby Soledar was lost to Ukraine in late January after intense fighting, as The Dallas Express reported. This gave Russian forces a considerable advantage in their attack on Bakhmut.

Offenbecker’s assessment indicates that the Russian attack on the city is not letting up.

“[The artillery] is nonstop,” Offenbecker told ABC News. “[Russia] have maybe run into a shortage of shells lately, but the past couple of weeks it’s been nonstop. All day and night.”

Ukraine may run into shortages soon as well.

Ukraine’s Western allies recently told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that NATO countries are struggling to find artillery shells to send to Ukraine. In response, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced that the U.S. would help train Ukrainian forces on methods that do not expend as many munitions.

European allies have also encountered problems trying to meet their commitments to ship German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, as The Dallas Express recently reported.

Russian forces are aiming to encircle and seize the city, although Bakhmut is not the only target.

According to Reuters, a statement from the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces on February 28 reported that Russian forces had shelled over 20 settlements in the northern regions bordering Russia, including Chernihiv, Sumy, and Kharkiv.

Russia currently holds approximately one-fifth of Ukraine’s pre-war territory, per Reuters.

Offenbecker noted the presence of civilians near the battlefront in his interview with ABC News.

All residents had been ordered by the Ukrainian authorities to evacuate Bakhmut, but some remained.

“A lot of these families are poor,” Offenbecker told ABC News. “They don’t have anywhere to go … even if they wanted to. So the reality is there still are a lot of civilians that are stuck in the middle of this.”

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