Much is said about the high-tech World War III-style weaponry being employed by Ukrainian forces in their war with Russia.
Still, so much of this fight looks more like World War I-style trench warfare: Along the dug-in eastern front in Kyiv’s war with Russia-backed separatists. And now in defensive fall-back positions in the south, around the Russian-held city of Kherson, where a big battle is brewing.
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Complete with all the basic needs the troops have in these kinds of conditions. Like staying warm and dry and provided with power. While jousting with the enemy.
“The winter is already here,” former Ukrainian president and businessman Petro Poroshenko told us, “It’s easy for you to imagine how it must be there.”
Poroshenko’s companies and charities have contributed much to the troops. On one cool night in Kyiv we watched as equipment was loaded into trucks to be taken to the front line near Kherson.
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Portable metal wood-burning stoves for soldiers to huddle around, which retain the heat of burning logs for hours at a time.
Compact gas and diesel-powered generators, the source of critical electricity for dugouts in the middle of nowhere.
And the cargo trucks themselves, armored-up to fend off artillery blasts that would not have seemed out of place on battlefields in France over a hundred years ago.
Poroshenko does acknowledge that all of the state-of-the-art stuff Ukraine is getting from the U.S. and the West – long-range-guided, missiles, drones, jets, modern tanks, satellite surveillance systems – is key to tangling with Russia.
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But he’s also firm about the basics: Strong support for brave warriors.
“We have one of the best armed forces in the world,” he said, “but having you stand shoulder to shoulder with us… this is the future of the world.”
A “future” – using techniques from the past and present – which hangs in the balance.
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