It is darkish within the bunker and the air is thick with smoke.
There’s not a lot room to maneuver round with wood crates filled with weapons and cigarettes stacked in each accessible house.
The dwelling circumstances are hardly splendid however the commander of Ukraine’s Svoboda or Freedom Battalion doesn’t appear anxious.
His identify is Petro Kuzyk, a former politician and environmental activist who’s now serving to to guide the defence of town of Severodonetsk in jap Ukraine.
We meet him within the neighbouring metropolis of Lysychansk. On our arrival, he greets us with a smile and a six-pack of Redbull, then walks over to a stack of name new shoulder-mounted rocket launchers.
“The distinction between Soviet and western weapons is the Soviet weapons have virtually no security techniques,” he explains.
“And western weapons have three, 4, even 5 on every unit.”
Commander Kuyzk shouldn’t be a fan of security techniques. “This one (is) very simple to make use of,” he says, choosing up a weapon made in Spain. “Just one security catch.”
He says he’s grateful for the provides now rolling into the nation – and his bunker – however says the nation’s allies are going to must assume on a special scale.
“We’d like critical gear and want extra tanks,” he provides. “In the meanwhile, we’re getting gear for infantry troopers. In consequence, we’ve got to combat a guerrilla struggle.”
He affords a critique of his arsenal – that it’s not huge or highly effective sufficient.
“The (British) NLAW destroys a tank from a distance of 400 metres,” he says.
“The (US) Javelin would not work in a metropolis the place you’ve got a number of particles. You want discipline circumstances. However Russian tanks are hitting us from a distance of two kilometres and hiding behind buildings.
“To destroy them we’ve got to ambush them underneath fixed artillery fireplace. It means fixed losses.”
A brutal contest is now being waged. In photos supplied to Sky Information by the Svoboda Battalion, we see Russian tanks spray metropolis streets with machine gun fireplace and shells – whereas Russian artillery kilos condo blocks, factories and companies.
Commander Kuyzk says they’ve retained, on common, management of 40-60% of Severodonetsk, though the frontline continuously modifications.
“The buildings we held yesterday can be destroyed by their artillery as we speak. We’ve to retreat from there as a result of there isn’t any sense remaining.”
“That is what it is like? I ask. Take a constructing after which it is destroyed.”
“Sure. They’ve the tactic that in the event that they see Ukrainians holding a place they don’t assault or seize the buildings. They simply stage them.”
It’s a main shift for the Russians after they tried to seize main cities like Kiev and Kharkiv with lengthy columns of troops and gear. Their expeditionary forces had been speedily routed by the Ukrainians.
In Severodonetsk, the Russians used artillery to blow out three bridges which hyperlink it to Ukrainian-controlled territory. The town is now reduce off from all types of highway transport and plenty of have predicted a full Ukrainian withdrawal. But Commander Kuzyk says they’ve been in a position to cope.
“Now the bridges are destroyed we use boats, ropes, even swimming. Logistics are troublesome. Anyway, it is our land and we should not give it to our enemy.”
A lot concern has been expressed in regards to the 500 or so civilians taking shelter in Severodonetsk’s large Azot chemical plant. It is likely one of the largest such services in Europe, manufacturing fertiliser, methanol and family chemical substances.
The battalion head says the risk posed by the Azot plant is one thing that everybody wants to begin worrying about. He additionally thinks it’s the worst place to take shelter.
“They’re in probably the most susceptible place as a result of in the end the plant can be destroyed. It is going to be a disaster as a result of it has a serious inventory of chemical substances. It is going to be an ecological disaster for the entire area. If an unpredictable explosion occurs there can be no metropolis, no metropolis defenders, no attackers. It should demolish every thing.”