Ukraine’s rapid advance in the east of the country did not just take Russian forces by surprise – jubilant Ukrainian soldiers are also amazed by the speed of their counter-attack. FRANCE 24’s Gulliver Cragg reports.
As Ukrainian troops restore abandoned enemy vehicles for their own future use, one soldier could not contain his incredulity about how quickly they retook territory: “We went on the attack and took one of their positions. We occupied it, fortified it,” he recounted. “Three days later the front moved on and they all started to scram. We were ready to fight but for them to just abandon the whole frontline, we really weren’t expecting that.”
Ukraine’s spectacular success is in large part down to a strong disinformation campaign, said special forces commander Andriy Malakhov, who is recovering from gunshot wounds sustained in the fight against the Russians: “I led the assault: my main manoeuvre was a decoy attack south of Balakliya,” he said. “The main thrust actually came from the West.
“Our intelligence spread information that the attack would come from the South. They sent lots of troops there, when the attack started we killed two hundred of them on the first day, and blocked their counter-attacks. They won’t be forgetting that.”
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