Oleh Arkhanhorodsky/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images
NEAR ANDRIIVKA, Ukraine—A young man emerged from the basement bleeding from his stomach. With his mohawk, pierced ears, and tattoos, everyone calls him ‘Cossack’ because of his similarity to the 17th century Ukrainian swashbucklers.
Smoke was rising from all sides from the recent Russian shelling salvos all around us, although the countryside was eerily quiet. He was still grinning and excitedly sharing a story as he entered the ambulance with us. “They only killed their own,” he would later relay to us from the relative safety of a nearby hospital. “They fired at our positions, and the only person they killed was one of our prisoners who we had captured a few days ago.”
Knowing it wouldn’t be long until the artillery battle resumed, we hightailed it. Normally, injured soldiers are transported from the front in an armored medevac vehicle. But casualties had been so high today that they had run out of suitable vehicles, so the medics had to take a chance on the open road to the trenches in a soft-skinned ambulance. Cossack told us it had no way of stopping an artillery shell.