“It’s very hard to lose people because we were one big family.”
A commander of an elite unit of Ukrainian marines has told Sky News the majority of his best trained troops have been injured or killed
“My unit was 100% made up of professional soldiers."
Speaking to Sky News near the front line south of the city of Severodonetsk, a company commander called Oleksandr said a core of experienced soldiers who had been fighting together since 2018 had been lost
Commander Oleksandr claims Russian combat losses are even higher, taking Sky News to the site of a major battle near the town of Avdiivka to make his point.
He said his unit destroyed 19 Russian vehicles, and killed dozens of enemy soldiers
Next to the burnt-out carcasses of one armoured personnel carrier, he pointed to the shallow graves of two Russian service personnel.
He claimed these corpses remain because the Russians show no interest in removing them
Commander Oleksandr says he never has time to rest.
If his unit are not fighting on the front, he says he has to train his soldiers as many are new and inexperienced
Iryna Tsybuh, a volunteer combat medic since 2015, says she has never been more tired than she is now.
Iryna is the leader of the medical crew of Ukraine’s 5th Hospitalier Brigade
Iryna and her colleagues collect wounded soldiers from frontline positions and provide lifesaving first aid.
In the previous few days she said they’ve rescued 22 men - two had died.
Some of her crew are clearly very young, the youngest is just 22 years old
“They don’t know what to do and they are really very scared.”
The numbers of dead and injured worry her.
Iryna says there are plenty of Ukrainians willing to take their place but they lack the skills
“I hate war, I would never be here… Russia started this war, so what do we do? This is part of our country that we have to fight for. I don’t see another way.”
Since February 24 Iryna has dedicated her life to care for wounded soldiers