Espreso. Global

"No surviving house, just bricks, war for basements": Ukrainian soldier recounts liberation of Klishchiivka

19 September, 2023 Tuesday

The liberation of Klishchiivka posed significant challenges due to the intense enemy fire and drone activity. Russian forces are currently assembling assault groups with the aim of retaking the recently lost territories

Sviatoslav, a soldier from the Ternopil region who fights in one of the brigades that liberated Klishchiivka in the Donetsk region, shared the story with Espreso TV.

"It was difficult to move around in Klishchiivka because everything was targeted," says Sviatoslav. "We inflicted more damage on them, because we have the latest weapons, more precise. But they also created a lot of inconvenience. Now they are gathering reserves, trying to recapture the liberated territories, and counterattacking very hard. They are not sparing people, redeploying them from other areas, forming assault groups.  But these groups do not live very long."

Russian troops managed to build a defense line and fortify it 

Sviatoslav has been fighting since 2014. He emphasizes that he has never encountered such difficult conditions during his time at the front. 

"It used to be easier because UAVs were not used so often. We can't even move at night, because they raise drones with thermal imaging and shoot at us," emphasizes Sviatoslav. "It's very difficult to operate in such conditions. Plus, the enemies do not spare shells. Sometimes we were driving on the road, and we heard shells falling, and we thought: ah, they fell, so we have a few minutes to drive before they start shooting again. The situation is complicated. They are shelling the supply and approach routes, using night drones. We are under surveillance around the clock. FPV drones are attacking our equipment, helicopters are being raised, which are also attacking us at a distance where it is difficult to hit their MANPADS. So even moving to the position is difficult. There is nothing and no one in Klishchiivka itself, just a pile of bricks. Not a single surviving house, a war for basements. Everything is destroyed. Andriivka is the same way. They fought for those villages and did not want to give them up. They imagined that it was their Stalingrad." 

Sviatoslav, who took part in the liberation of the Kharkiv region, highlighted the challenges faced during the current counteroffensive, explaining that it has been more challenging and slower than in the previous year. He mentioned that there was a gap in the flank coverage in the Kharkiv region, as most attention was focused on Kherson. Russian troops had initially moved their forces to Kherson but lacked the capacity to advance further or hold the city. But during this time, they managed to build a new defense line and fortify it. 

"They pulled up reserves to hold this entire line. In addition, during this time, they have been mining," notes Sviatoslav. "They are also learning. The Russian army of last year and the Russian army now are not comparable. Although they have many gaps that we have already closed. It may be that we will break through the front again and go further, but now is a very critical point. They are plugging all their gaps with "live meat," and when they run out of it, the front may collapse at any moment. But we need to work on this. They managed to build and organize a defense line." 

However, Sviatoslav emphasizes that the liberation of Klishchiivka and Andriivka is strategically important. Russian forces are redeploying people here from other areas, thus weakening them. In addition, Ukrainian forces manage to destroy their manpower and disable combat-ready units. And most importantly, it is a foothold to move forward.

  • The Ukrainian Defense Forces have completely recaptured Klishchiivka, but Russian troops are still trying to retake the village. 

  • Major Rodion Kudryashov, deputy commander of the 3rd separate assault brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, explained on Espreso how the events will unfold following Klishchiivka’s liberation. In particular, he noted that there is an opportunity to recapture Bakhmut.

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