Cars are not allowed on the roads that lead south. As Ukraine attempts to retake Kherson, fighting is intensifying along this front.
We traveled with a military escort, through checkpoints, on desolate roads, to reach the slowly shifting frontlines.
All the villages are being heavily shelled and it’s only getting worse.
The explosions have left roofs of homes smashed and their fences strewn with shrapnel.
There is no safe place.
Amazingly, there are still a few residents who refuse to move.
Ivan says that even after months of fighting, he still shivers when the bombs begin to fall.
They are shelling, they are shelling on the ocean. You can see two fires. There is also a fire there. He says they shell every day.”
An attack can happen at any time, but it is more severe at night or in the morning.
Those who are still here say they don’t have the means to move.
Others are too sick to flee, so they must stay right there.
Lubov shows me the place she waits for the Russian artillery barrages to pass.
She descends through the trapdoor of her small house that has been repeatedly hit with shrapnel.
As the war roars overhead, it’s a lonely and dark existence.
“Every night, we come here until morning. If there is a lot shelling, we have to also go down during the day. Fear is a common emotion. We hide from our fears and run away. She says, “We are waiting for it all to end, maybe.”
The countryside is littered with the debris of war from the southern front after six months of conflict.
The story of a huge Ukrainian attack is told by the Russian armoured personnel carrier (APCs), which are now ruined. On the ground, the uniforms of those who died were also burned.
The Russian armour was destroyed in the initial invasion, and the frontlines here haven’t moved much for several months.
As it launches a counter offensive, Ukraine hopes its forces can defeat the Kremlin’s war machine in areas further south.
This war is being fought in vast open areas. Artillery teams hide in these landscapes as they wait for coordinates to strike new targets.
However, the units are stating that they require more supplies from the West in order to win the fight.
Trenches can be found for miles along the line of contact.
Infantry units are in defensive positions and waiting to move forward.
The soldiers are concerned that the western support might wane without steady progress.
Vasily, a member of the 59th Brigade warns that a defeat here could have serious consequences for democracy everywhere.
“Vietnam is suffering a lot. Russians are very dirty. They are not morals or war ethics. They came to rape, kill and maraud.
They will not stop them if we don’t stop them in our land. It is better to push them back.
While the troops are confident that they will win, Ukraine claims there are indications that Moscow is getting more desperate.
Attacks on civilian targets are rising.
Residents in Mykolaiv live under constant threat from bombing. Seven people were recently killed by a Russian rocket at a bus stop in the outskirts.
Although the war is now entering a new phase, it will not end soon.
It will be a slow, deadly match of artillery against the south.