The front line in Ukraine hasn't changed significantly in recent days. Ukrainian forces, meanwhile, are managing to liberate some occupied areas, ERR correspondents in Ukraine reported on Thursday.
"Russkiy Mir," or the "Russian World," arrived in the Mykolaiv Oblast village of Vynohradivka about a week ago. It arrived in the form of military vehicles marked with the letter Z and full of ammunition. The destruction of these vehicles likewise marked the end of "Russian World" in Vynohradivka.
Local residents shared their impressions of the Russian troops' visit to their village.
"I asked them, 'Why did you come here?' I have spoken in Russian my entire life. I am not being bullied here. Nobody has ever said anything bad to me because of it!'" Tetyana said. "They were silent. They just said that they were given such orders. I said, 'Fine, you have such orders, but what is your goal? To scare us? That you certainly won't succeed in doing."
"When they came into my house, I started to cry," Alla recalled. "They asked, 'Why are you crying? We're not going to hurt you.' I replied, 'The thing is, you're a foreign country's troops, and I'm scared because of that already.'"
The occupation of Vynohradivka nonetheless did not last for very long.
"Our forces opened fire on them," Tetyana said. "They started asking if they could hide in our backyard. Why should I let them in? I didn't let anyone in."
Volodymyr had two vehicles, only one of which is now left; he lost his truck.
"They broke my doors, took my car and that was it," Volodymyr said. "They said that I'd get it back in a couple of days, they needed to take something to the dam. How am I supposed to resist? They have automatics. I was forced to agree. When I went there two days later, I was told, 'I'm giving you my word of honor as an officer — you will get your car back in another two days. Even if we leave here, we will leave the car here.' When I went back there the next morning, there was no car, no officers, and no word of honor."
Russian troops left a similar impression on the neighboring village of Pisky.
"They came and immediately started looting stores," Grigoriy said. "Then they dug themselves trenches and sat in them. Then they started being bombed and they hightailed it out of here. Maybe there are some normal people among them, but the majority of them came here to pillage, loot and destroy. After that, they left."
Ukrainian military spokesperson Yaroslav Chepurnoy said that residents of Mykolaiv Oblast considered the Russians to be occupiers, due to which they provided a lot of intelligence to Ukrainian forces that allowed them to destroy Russian troops and force them to retreat.
Retreating occupying Russian forces set fire to some of their own equipment to ensure it would not fall into Ukrainian hands. The sides of village roads are littered with the burned remains of a significant amount of Russian military equipment.
Editor: Aili Vahtla