Ukrainians fighting in the northern sector of the frontline say they're buckling under Russia's attacks.
"Everything is not like what you read on the news," a recruit told the Kyiv Independent.
Many of the troops were civilians before Russia's invasion and have just three weeks of NATO basic training.
NATO-trained recruits fighting in northeastern Ukraine are feeling demoralized as they struggle to cope with Russia's better-equipped and "fearless" soldiers, according to a new report by the Kyiv Independent.
Reporter Igor Kossov interviewed troops from the 32nd Separate Mechanized Brigade, assigned about an hour east of Kharkiv in the northern sector of the 600-mile-long frontline, where Russia has advanced over the past month.
Many soldiers from the 32nd were civilians before the brigade was set up in January and received just three weeks of NATO basic training in Germany before they were deployed.
They described feeling "in over their heads" and ill-equipped — with one even questioning the futility of the ongoing war.
"Everything is not like what you read in daily briefings and on the news," Volodymyr, an infantry sergeant interviewed by the Kyiv Independent, said.
"A heroic feat — to jump out from that basement and shoot aimlessly in their general direction, then end up without an arm or a leg, or just dead?" he added. "What's the point?"
Other recruits the Kyiv Independent spoke to said three weeks of NATO basic training had left them underprepared for the reality of the situation on the ground.
"A NATO infantryman knows he's supported and can advance with the confidence that there's a high likelihood that he won't be killed or maimed," Ihor, who was a lawyer before being recruited by the 32nd Brigade, told the outlet.
Russian forces are seeking to distract Ukraine's counteroffensive
Ukraine has deployed most of its resources to the counteroffensive it's waging in the south, leaving the soldiers fighting in the northern sector starved of ammunition, vehicles, and other equipment.
Meanwhile, Russia has amassed over 100,000 troops at the Kupiansk axis on the northern frontline, according to authorities in Kyiv.
It likely believes that its gains there could undermine Ukraine's counteroffensive by forcing the country to shift its attention from the south to the north, according to UK military intelligence.
"Russian forces are likely seeking to distract Ukraine from its counteroffensive," the Ministry of Defence said on X Saturday.
"Given that Russia has made modest gains near Kupiansk since the Ukrainian counteroffensive began in June, they are highly likely seeking to capitalize on these by continuing to resource the access," the MoD added.
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