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A bloody retreat as Ukrainian unit hit by Russian cluster bombs

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A seriously injured soldier from the Ukrainian Airborne unit is evacuated after a Russian cluster bomb attack on Sunday. (Photo by Heidi Levine for The Washington Post)
A critically injured soldier from the Ukrainian Airborne unit is evacuated after a Russian cluster bomb assault on Sunday. (Heidi Levine for The Washington Submit)

OUTSIDE OF LYSYCHANSK, Ukraine — The Ukrainian Airborne unit was relieved to be pulling again from the entrance Sunday morning, using a column of armored personnel carriers away from the embattled metropolis of Severodonetsk, which had already fallen to the Russians, and Lysychansk, which was on the brink.

“Nothing occurred to us to after we have been on the entrance,” the unit commander stated. “It was whereas we have been retreating that we bought hit.”

They have been hit, and hit badly.

Because the convoy moved into the farm village of Verkhniokamianske, with most of the troopers using on the skin of the automobiles, the primary blast struck proper by them. It was a cluster bomb, they might later surmise, one thing that tore by means of the contingent of males clinging to that facet of 1 truck.

A number of males have been wounded, with blood pouring from limbs and, in a single case, a soldier’s head. However there was no time to deal with them whereas the convoy remained within the crosshairs of Russian artillery. The unhurt utilized tourniquets the place they may, dragged the damage again onto the automobiles and raced out of the village, throughout rutted farm lanes to a line of timber throughout a golden wheat subject a couple of kilometer away.

It was simply one of many many chaotic scenes that maintain unfolding as Ukrainians surrender floor to Russia’s relentless push to manage the japanese Donbas area.

Some troopers pushed their unit’s automobiles into the tree cowl, piling on branches to maintain them hidden from drones used for focusing on. The others did what they may for the injured, making do with their private first assist provides as a result of that they had develop into separated from the unit’s large subject medical equipment.

There have been eight wounded, no less than two of them critically. The soldier with the pinnacle damage was drifting out and in of consciousness.

The commander had simply radioed their location and requested medical evacuation groups when a number of Washington Submit journalists protecting the retreat came across the group. The troopers yelled for the journalists to get out of the realm: “It’s not secure!”

However The Submit workforce’s safety escort, a former fight medic, had a well-equipped trauma equipment within the automotive. “Come, come,” the troopers stated.

A Russian cluster bomb assault hit Ukrainian troopers as they moved into the farm village of Verkhniokamianske on June 26. (Video: Heidi Levine, Photograph: Heidi Levine/Heidi Levine)

For the subsequent harrowing half-hour, the safety escort labored with the unit’s medic to stabilize probably the most critical circumstances. It was a purely humanitarian impulse, he would clarify later. Fight medics are skilled to deal with the injured, regardless of the flag on their uniform.

The convoy’s medic eliminated the one man’s helmet to point out a heavy bandage. “He was hit within the head,” he defined as a Ukrainian interpreter helped with communication. “However I don’t discover an exit wound. The shrapnel remains to be in there.”

The pair administered IV fluids and regarded the soldier’s respiratory, which was labored. A nasal tube was inserted and oxygen ranges checked.

Close by, one other soldier was mendacity in a pool of his personal blood on a canvas stretcher, his thigh closely bandaged.

“The place is Cat?” the person requested, his eyes opening. “Is Cat all proper?”

The others assured him his buddy was superb. “He’s up strolling round.”

Throughout the sector, a Ukrainian artillery battery fired a sequence of shells, barrels belching smoke and flame into the sky.

“We have to must get these males going,” stated the commander, who requested that he and the troopers not be named for safety causes. “Then we have to transfer on.”

The Submit’s safety escort administered a shot of morphine and handed the unit’s medic a bottle of 4 antibiotic tablets. “Give him one now, and tape the bottle to his physique so the physician is aware of what he’s had,” he stated.

The soldier wanted to be stored awake, he added, in order that his situation might be monitored. With that, one other soldier squatted by the stretcher and stated one thing to the injured man. They each laughed.

“Right here they arrive,” the commander stated a short while later, eying two plumes of mud racing alongside the sting of the sector. The street out of Lysychansk had been crammed with ambulances all morning.

In minutes, the army ambulance rolled up. The medics jumped out, however the troopers have been able to load their very own males.

“Give them room, give them room,” the commander stated. “Take these two first.”

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