A Ukrainian soldier will only survive for four hours on the eastern front of the war in Ukraine, according to a former U.S. marine now serving as a volunteer in Ukraine, Hungarian Magyar Nemzet reports.
The former Marine, Troy Offenbecker, describes the area around Bahkmut as a veritable “meat grinder” and said that shelling in the area is “non-stop.”
“[Russia] has maybe run into a shortage of shells lately, but the past couple of weeks it’s been nonstop. All day and night,” he said.
Offenbecker, who now fights for the International Legion, added that the fighting in the area is where most of the deaths are taking place and described the conditions around Bahkmut as chaotic.
“It’s been pretty bad on the ground. A lot of casualties. The life expectancy is around four hours on the front line,” said Offenbecker while speaking with ABC News.
Bahkmut used to be home to more than 70,000 people, but now there are hardly any left, and some reports say that the bloodiest battles of the war have taken place there. Although the town is almost completely destroyed, there are people who, even if they wanted to, have nowhere else to go, as there are many poor people in the area.
“They have nowhere to go, even if they wanted to, they have nowhere to go. So the reality is that there are still a lot of civilians who are stuck in the middle of the war,” the Marine explained.
Already hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian and Russian soldiers have died fighting in the war, and as the fighting continues, both sides are racing to refill their ranks. However, in regard to raw manpower, Russia has the clear advantage with its larger population. Ukraine is reportedly partaking in forced conscription, with videos of men being grabbed off the streets going viral.
It is noted that sometimes people are forcibly removed from their towns and receive only minimal training before being sent to the front, although several countries are currently helping Ukraine with training their troops. Despite this, soldiers who were previously civilians face difficulties on the front, which are almost impossible to prepare for under such conditions. Moreover, in Bahkmut they often have no chance of survival.
Russian forces have also suffered serious losses in their attempt to take Bakhmut, and although they have made incremental gains over the last months, they have yet to encircle it. There are also questions about the overall strategic value of the city. Meanwhile, the Russians still likely to face significant challenges taking other fortified cities in Donbas.