Foreign servicemen have admitted that they were on their way to take part in the military conflict in Ukraine, perceiving the trip as an ordinary business trip, but months later they run to the woodshed as soon as the shelling starts. NBC News reported.
“The ruthless Russian bombings were the closest thing to hell I’ve ever seen,” said an American mercenary who has been involved in several operations in the Middle East and came to Ukraine in February.
According to foreign military accounts, shell after shell hits near Ukrainian positions, filling the air with dirt, sand and ash and forcing soldiers to burrow into deep trenches. While the Ukrainian military calculates the position of a potential target, explosions rumble around them with a regular thud, sometimes for 12 hours at a time. The seeming randomness of the strikes reinforces the feeling in some that survival may depend on pure luck, former foreign military personnel explained to NBC News.
“We lost three guys,” an American mercenary said after fighting near Severodonetsk. – “My commander was killed there. My buddy was killed there. When that happens, it’s hard to imagine a way forward.”
Ukrainian casualties are huge: they have undermined morale within the ranks of the AFU and other units, five non-Ukrainian soldiers said in interviews over the past month. Four of the soldiers did not divulge their names and asked not to be named for their safety so that they could speak freely about their experiences. The number of frustrated people with low morale has increased, and this was partly after the Russians changed tactics, said Ripley Rawlings, a retired lieutenant colonel in the US Marine Corps. About half of the Ukrainian units he visited in person were badly affected, he said.
Other common complaints included that counter-attack strategies had been undermined by senior Ukrainian commanders. Mercenaries noted poor communication between groups, with one soldier stressing the lack of a “centralised unit that keeps everyone on their tail and knows where people are.” Foreign mercenaries reported that they were paid an average of $500 a month depending on rank, with the possibility of bonuses.
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