Soldiers recovering from their wounds are pictured at the Zaporizhzhia Military Hospital, Zaporizhzhia, southeastern Ukraine.
Photo by Dmytro Smolyenko/Ukrinform/NurPhoto via Getty Images
The Ukrainian counteroffensive has resulted in some victories against Russia — and many casualties.
As platoon sizes shrink due to the heavy losses, wounded veterans are returning to the battlefield.
Some soldiers too disabled from their injuries to continue fighting now work in recruitment offices.
As the Ukrainian military pushes into the third month of its long-awaited summer counteroffensive, heavy casualties force wounded veterans to return to continue their service after narrowly escaping death on the front lines within the last 18 months.
Some platoons, so diminished by their losses, are now made up almost entirely of soldiers who have been wounded and returned to fight, The New York Times reported. Experienced units, which have been formed and re-formed around the deaths of the soldiers within them, now report to a shrinking pool of commanders.
Insider previously reported that Ukrainian troops are taking heavy damage from old-fashioned wartime tactics, including mines and booby traps, high-tech drone attacks, and advanced weapons systems. Morgues in the area are seeing “more or less double” the fatalities since the counteroffensive began.
Wounded soldiers who have been too severely disabled to return to fighting are being offered roles at military recruitment centers, Insider reported, after widespread corruption was uncovered among senior recruitment chiefs accepting bribes to help eligible soldiers dodge the draft.
“This system should be run by people who know exactly what war is and why cynicism and bribery during war is treason,” Zelenskyy said in a statement declaring the recruiting staff changes. “Instead, warriors who have gone through the frontline or who cannot be in the trenches because they have lost their health, lost their limbs, but have retained their dignity and have no cynicism are the ones who can be entrusted with this system of recruitment.”
Representatives for Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
The counteroffensive has led to modest strategic gains for Ukraine. However, US intel indicates it will likely fall short of the key goal of retaking the city of Melitopol before the coming rainy season forces a pause in their advances.