Home https://server7.kproxy.com/servlet/redirect.srv/sruj/smyrwpoii/p2/ World https://server7.kproxy.com/servlet/redirect.srv/sruj/smyrwpoii/p2/ From the Battle of Washington to the Frontlines in Ukraine

From the Battle of Washington to the Frontlines in Ukraine

A soldier with a thick mustache stands in view, his machine gun nestled in his shoulder. Only six hundred yards away can be seen the sandbags of the Russian-backed separatists.

"They use drones to throw mines at our positions," Commander Pavel Sergeevich tells CNN, nodding in the direction of the enemy.

He says one of his men was shot dead by a sniper 10 days ago. It is assumed that there is a ceasefire, but it is broken regularly.

In July, when President Donald Trump encouraged new Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky to investigate his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, nearly $ 400 million in military and security assistance to Ukraine was already halted and would continue for months. Whether aid was withheld from pressure to launch a corruption probe and whether it is impossible is now a key part of the House Democrats' crackdown on the president.

By the time Sergeevich and his men learned about the freeze, that assistance was already released. But the delay left cold.

Sergeevich told CNN that he was "unhappy and disappointed. America is the strongest and most important ally. "

How the US participates

It is difficult to find much evidence of US military assistance on the front lines beyond US-issued tourniquets and dressings and night-vision goggles. . This battlefield near Shirokine, with its trenches hand-dug with shovels, seems to have more to do with World War I stories than the conflicts of the 21
st century.
The key weapon that the US agreed to sell is Javelin, an anti-tank rocket that Zelensky mentioned in his July 25 conversation with Trump. The United States has ruled that the system cannot be used on the front lines, where it could lead to an escalation of power from the Russian side.
  School room in Shirokine, a village abandoned by its inhabitants after being struck by artillery at the beginning of the war.

When asked about his reaction to the temporary freezing of US aid, Chapman replied: "personally, I do not understand pay attention to the US … foreign policy or politics while I am here We are only focused on the mission at the moment … This has not even started a conversation. "

His Ukrainian counterpart, Colonel Nazar Shpak, agrees. Asked if the US is a reliable ally, he nods emphatically "totally, yes, completely."

Concerns about Putin and Trump

Back east, the real impact of this conflict is still unfolding . Nearly 1.5 million people have been evicted as a city after being hit by heavy bombing.

Half of the population has left the mining town of Toretsk and most of the coal mines have been closed. In the central square, the burnt-out mayoralty stands an empty, grim reminder of the fierce battle between the separatists who have seized the city and the Ukrainian army, which has driven them out again.

  History teacher Leonid Makarov says he is concerned that President Trump appears to be courting Russian President Putin.

The nearest front line is already more than five miles away, but Leonid Makarov says the fighting is far from over. The 26-year-old history teacher lost one of his students last year. Daria Kazemirova was killed just days after her 15th birthday when an artillery shell fired by Russian-backed separatists landed in her grandmother's garden.

Makarov is still struggling to understand this and President Trump's seemingly mercurial attitude toward Ukraine and Russia.

"When I hear President Trump say that Vladimir Putin is a nice person – it's just weird. It affects me. Putin killed my student."

  Elena Salaeva has not been home for five years after being hit by shrapnel picking tomatoes in her garden.

At a nearby center for the elderly, Elena Salaeva says that she no longer cares who wins the war. The pensioner was forced to leave her home five years ago after being injured by shrapnel while picking tomatoes in her garden. She could not go back.

"We just want to have no more war and everyone to have a peaceful life of their own." Eastern Ukraine would be granted special self-governing status after local elections.

But this is a long road and the political crisis in the United States can affect Ukraine again. There is a constant fear that bipartisan support for Ukraine could be poisoned by increasing the polarization generated by the impeachment process. And if lawmakers are no longer able to stand and speak together, it could strengthen Russia's hand.

Back in his trench, Pavel Sergeyevich shrugs and says his men will continue to fight, with or without US support.

"We will fight even if the whole world is against us. This is our land. What choice do we have?"

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