There is a lot of talk about the WWIII-style high-tech weaponry used by Ukrainian forces in their war against Russia.
Yet much of this combat is more like World War I-style trench warfare: along the eastern front buried in Kyiv’s war with Russian-backed separatists. And now in fallback defensive positions in the south, around the Russian city of Kherson, where a great battle is brewing.
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Complete with all basic troop needs in these kinds of conditions. Like staying warm and dry and powered up. By jousting with the enemy.
“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 businesses and charities contributed a lot to the troops. On a cool night in Kyiv, we saw material being loaded onto trucks to be transported to the front line near Kherson.
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Portable metal wood stoves for soldiers to huddle in, which retain the heat of logs for hours.
Compact gasoline and diesel generators, the essential source of electricity for canoes in the middle of nowhere.
And the cargo trucks themselves, armored to repel artillery blasts that would not have looked out of place on the battlefields of France more than a hundred years ago.
Poroshenko acknowledges that all the cutting-edge elements that Ukraine receives from the United States and the West – long-range guided missiles, drones, jet planes, modern tanks, satellite surveillance systems – are essential for entanglement with Russia.
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But he’s also firm on the basics: solid support for brave warriors.
“We have one of the best armed forces in the world,” he said, “but having you on our side… that’s the future of the world.”
A “future” – using techniques from the past and present – that is at stake.
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