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'We need serious equipment and more tanks', says Ukrainian commander defending Severodonetsk

The bunker is dark and the smoke thickens the air.

With wooden crates stuffed with cigarettes and weapons, there is little space to move about.

Although the living conditions in Ukraine are not ideal, the commander of Ukraine’s Svoboda and Freedom Battalion seems unaffected.

Petro Kuzyk is a former politician, environmental activist and is currently leading the defense of Severodonetsk, eastern Ukraine.

Image Petro Kuzyk, commander of the Svoboda batallion

He is located in Lysychansk, a neighboring city. We are greeted by a smiling face and six packs of Redbull upon our arrival. He then walks over to us with a stack new shoulder-mounted rocket launchers.

He explains that the difference between Soviet and Western weapons is that Soviet weapons have virtually no safety systems.

“And western weapons have three to four or even five units.”

Commander Kuyzk doesn’t like safety systems. He says that this one is very simple to use, after grabbing a Spanish-made weapon. “There is only one safety catch.”

He said he was grateful for the supplies that are now coming into the country, and his bunker. But he also stated that the country’s allies will have to think on an entirely different scale.

Image A Ukrainian soldier tries to get used to a new shoulder-mounted rocket launcher

He adds, “We need serious equipment, and more tanks.” “At this time, we are getting equipment for infantry troops. We must fight a guerrilla warfare as a result.

He gives a critique on his arsenal, stating that it isn’t powerful or large enough.

He says, “The (British), NLAW destroys a Tank from a Distance of 400 Meters.”

“The (US Javelin) doesn’t work in cities with a lot of trash. Field conditions are essential. Russian tanks can be seen approaching us from two kilometres away and hiding behind buildings.

“To destroy them, we must ambush them with constant artillery fire.” This means that you will suffer constant losses.

Image Soldier walks through rubble in Lysychansk

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Now, a brutal battle is underway. Sky News has seen photos taken by the Svoboda Battalion of Russian tanks spraying city streets with machine guns and shells, while Russian artillery pound apartment blocks, factories, and businesses.

Commander Kuyzk claims they have maintained control of between 40-60% and Severodonetsk on an average basis, even though the frontline is constantly changing.

Their artillery will today destroy the buildings they held yesterday. There is no sense left. We must flee.

“That’s how it feels like?” “That’s what it’s like?” I ask. I ask.

“Yes. They use the tactic of not attacking or capturing buildings if they see Ukrainians in a particular position. They simply level them.”

Image Lysychansk was destroyed

After trying to seize major cities such as Kiev and Kharkiv, the Russians made a significant shift. They used long columns of troops and heavy equipment. The Ukrainians quickly defeated their expeditionary forces.

Three bridges linking Severodonetsk to Ukrainian-controlled territory were destroyed by the Russians using artillery. Many have predicted that the Ukrainian will withdraw completely from the city, cutting off all road transport. But Commander Kuzyk claims they have been able cope.

“Now that bridges have been destroyed, we can use boats, ropes and even swimming. Logistics can be difficult. It’s our land, and we shouldn’t give it away to our enemies.”

Image Azot Chemical Plant in Severodonetsk

Concern has been raised about the 500 civilians who took refuge in Severodonetsk’s Azot chemical plant. It manufactures fertiliser, methanol, and household chemicals.

According to the battalion leader, the Azot plant threat is something everyone should be concerned about. It is also the worst place to shelter.

They are at the most risk because the plant will soon be destroyed. Because it holds a large stock of chemical substances, it will be a disaster.

It will cause ecological disaster in the entire region. Unpredictable explosions can cause destruction of cities, city defenders and attackers. It will destroy everything.


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