Ukrainian forces are gradually liberating occupied territories in Kherson Oblast. The bridges in the area have been blown and crossings are watched by enemy artillery.
The video (in Estonian) of urban battles in Velyka Oleksandrivka has been shot using a soldier's body camera. "A bloody Russian flag! Velyka Oleksanrivka is ours!" The video also depicts local residents' welcome for Ukrainian troops. The recordings come courtesy of a former Ukrainian TV journalist who now serves as deputy company commander.
"Russia's aggression started eight years ago but it was far away from me at the time. We produced stories and films as journalists. Now, the war has reached my home. My city, neighboring building came under missile fire. I took my wife to a safer city, left her some money and took to the front," the soldier nicknamed Focus told ERR.
To retake Velyka Oleksandrivka, Ukrainian forces had to pass through the so-called gray zone and cross the Inhulets River. All bridges were blown back in spring. Focus' company includes veterans who also fought in Afghanistan 40 years ago.
"My companion and I visited Afghanistan together back in the day, while we have been fighting here since the invasion started," Tourist said.
"Yeah, we visited. We though it would be the only war in our lifetime, while we have now collided with another one. We didn't want it, but what are you going to do. While we have reached a certain age, it's alright, and we can still show the youngsters a thing or two. So, everything is good," Tooth added.
"We will liberate our country, Everything will be fine. We will win!" Tourist remarked.
The local school served as a barracks for Russian troops for the last six months.
"This is the school's basement and bomb shelter. This was their headquarters where they brought people to torture them. Orcs, what else is there to say," Deniss suggested.
There are numerous such torture chambers in Velyke and Mala Oleksandrivka. It was not hard to land in one, while getting out again required shouting "Slava Rossii" (Glory to Russia) at the top of one's lungs. And people did, out of pain.
A week before pulling out of Velyka Oleksandrivka, Russian troops carried out a referendum for the oblast's annexation to Russia.
"It was a referendum for them, but no one asked the people anything. Like always. They decided the result they wanted to see," Deniss said.
"They did what they wanted," is the answer locals give when asked about the Russian troops' behavior.
"They took everything by force, without asking for permission. Mostly cars," Mikhail said. Most of these vehicles and other stolen possessions ended up in a nearby limestone quarry.
Yuri, who works at the Velyka Oleksandrivka quarry, said that they have an overview of the things Russian soldiers took from homes but did not manage to take with them. "For example, we found four gas stoves, two burnt and two shot up. Four... no, two fridges and three sinks," Yuri counted.
"The orcs, Russian troops had their positions here. They had a munitions store that we blew up. People want to restart the quarry and we need to clear all of it out to make it safe," bomb disposal expert Arkadi said.
Medic Gayetchka (Little Gear) was a lawyer four months ago. She volunteered for the army after her father, who was an Ukrainian officer, was killed in the line of duty. "My father died of gunshot wounds. He spent days in the hospital, in the care of medics. I also want to help others. I'm not looking for revenge," Gayetchka said, adding that the war will not end before the Russian Federation does.
Editor: Marcus Turovski
Source: Aktuaalne kaamers