With hands still dirty from the battlefield, a dozen Russian prisoners of war sat, stony-faced, in a conference room of a Ukrainian news agency on Saturday and described being captured after their armored columns were ambushed.
Lt. Dmitry Kovalensky, who had fought in a Russian tank unit and spoke at the behest of his Ukrainian captors, said he recently came under fire from an armed drone and shoulder-launched anti-tank missiles on a road near Sumy, in northeastern Ukraine. “The whole column burned,” he said.
Around the same time and a few miles away, at a makeshift Ukrainian military base in an abandoned building on the western edge of Kyiv, Ukrainian soldiers prepared for the same sort of ambushes that took out Lieutenant Kovalensky’s unit.
Lt. Yevgeny Yarantsev, a Ukrainian officer, said his country’s soldiers fight differently than the Russians. The troops under his command organize in small, nimble units that can sneak up on and ambush the lumbering columns of Russian tanks.
“They have a lot of tanks, we have a lot of anti-tank weapons,” said Lieutenant Yarantsev, who previously fought with a volunteer group against Russia in eastern Ukraine. “In the open field, it will be even. It’s easier to fight in the city.”
The two young officers — the same rank, but each representing a different country — gave some of the few firsthand accounts of the fighting that have emerged in the 10-day war. The Russian was a prisoner of war speaking under the watchful eye of heavily armed Ukrainian security officials. The Ukrainian spoke as he displayed newly obtained, sophisticated weapons from the United States. [Continue reading…]