Ukrainian soldiers in war zone display enemy “trophies” gathered after night attacks



Stories from the Front, Ukraine, War in the Donbas

Ukrainian soldiers displayed their small museum of shells, fragments, mortars and cartridges – “fraternal greetings” from their nearby enemy – at a control point near occupied Dokuchayevsk, Donetsk Oblast.

“Everything you see here is what comes flying at us every day.” says soldier Andriy “Look, that’s an RPG fragment, but we have lots of them. Basically, it’s 122-mm caliber or more… We collect a lot of fragments and shrapnel after each attack. We send most of them to different school war (ATO) museums as our children should know the truth about the situation in Eastern Ukraine.

After night shelling, our boys go out and “harvest a whole crop” of missile fragments and mortars.  They often find strange-looking remains that look like debris from cluster bombs.”


“The attacks usually begin after sunset and last all night. They start by shooting somewhere nearby, and then begin pounding our positions. But, sometimes they start hitting us in the middle of the day… shelling from mortars and BMPs. Well, I’ll tell you one thing. There’s no way they can undermine our spirit or intimidate us. If we leave our positions, it’s to move forward and liberate Ukraine from this plague called the “Russian world”.”


Andriy made a conscious and deliberate choice when he decided to enlist in the Armed Forces. Two years ago, his passport was on the table, his suitcase was packed and he was ready to go to Poland. But, in the last minute, Andriy decided to stay… he couldn’t leave his home and his country in such a difficult moment. Personally, he feels that running away would be tantamount to treason… and real men don’t behave that way. Andriy says there are many men in his division that have returned to the front for a second time. Their choice is deliberate, and this means that Ukraine has a strong and reliable shield to protect it from its enemies.

Photos by Taras Hren

Mobile Media Group OTU “Mariupol”

Translated by: Christine Chraibi

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  • Randolph Carter

    Damn – when they said “enemy trophies” I was hoping for Yanukovich’s or Putin’s heads on a pike. Either those, or Lenin’s body…I would add more of Putin’s thug…uh, friends but they keep getting assassinated )))

  • Murf

    Speaking of Trophies.
    The Strong Europe Tank Challenge has ended.
    First place goes to a surprising Austria.
    Second is peenial winner Germany.
    And third goes to the US who have made up for a disappointing last place in the 2016 compition. This showing by the US illustrates that the competition is not about who has the best tank like some fan boys want to believe. The Abrams use in both competitions was essentially the same. It about the men of each platoon.
    The plucky Ukrainians came in 5th which is not bad for their first time in a international NATO competition. It is also worth noting they scored rd in the gunnery portion of the competition which is very impressive given the level of skill by the participants.
    Here is a good article on the results.
    The article also has a video interview with the competition’s US commander. He notes the Ukraine teams actual tank on tank combat experience and the maneuverability of their T-64s. These T-64s were upgraded to the “Bulet” standard and included thermal sights, improved optics, a digital radio and GPS. Hopefully Ukraine will continue upgrading their tank fleet.
    Each team will be given a results packet that will give details on their scores and detailed evaluations on their performance. Hope fully this packet will not end up in the “Round File” ie the trashcan. Either actually or just mentally.
    Its sad to say but the Ukrainian Armor Corp did not perform well against the Russians. While reliable numbers are impossible to find, it is estimated that the Russians inflicted a 3 to 1 kill ration on the Ukrainians.
    The reasons are many but boil down to prewar under funding Armored training and maintainance is expensive. INa military that was fnded at 25% of what was needed just to maintain its selve the Armor Corp slipped between the cracks. That resulted in poor training, little maintenance and zero upgrading.
    In 2014 they had to buy batteries form civilian auto stores just to be able to start the vehicles up. Tanks went into battle with 30 year old engines, the 5TDF, that were unreliable to begin with. 20 years sitting in a field rusting didn’t improve things. An example of the battlefield price of this can be seen at the Air port Terminal. Ukraine tried to mount an extraction mission to save the Cyborgs. The plan depended on 4 tanks providing cover fire. Two didn’t even show up. one broke and the fourth quickly retreated.
    As a result many Cyborgs died when the Russians collapsed the building a week later.
    Another example comes form the Battle of Debalt’seve. Ukraine tank company counterattacked and drove the Russians back from a critical town but had to give up the ground they won when night fell and they were afraid the Russian Thermal sights would lat the pick of the Ukraine Tanks.
    Improving the Tanks will take time and money.
    However the Ukraine tankers can improve their training right now.
    contrary to what many think. the US didn’t win Desert Storm because of smart bombs and a cool tank.
    We won because we developed a training tool called the After Action Review (AAR)
    After every exercise Observers and participants sat down and go over what went right and what when wrong. Candor by all ranks is encouraged and rank grants no immunity from criticism. Often these AARs can be blistering in their intensity. Embarrassing mistakes are bared to all. Proud officers are laid low by enlisted men. The self criticism can be painful but out of it comes improvement.
    Poroshenko has recently announced the reestablishment of the Ukrainian “Institute for Tank Troops”
    The first thing they should do is take the Scoring Packet NATO sends them and look carefully at their teams strengths and weaknesses. The star members of their team should be brought to the Institute and made instructors. They should be included in an over haul of the Ukraine tank operations manual and training syllabus. This will require some senior officers to give up long held training ideas. However even the Russians have walked away from many aspects of the old Soviet Doctrine.

    Hopefuly Ukraine’s participation in the Strong Europe Challenge will have lasting effects on the Armored Corp.

    • Andrew Chmile

      Very IMPRESSIVE information and sources for more!!!!

      Thank you “tanker” & Army Major!!!

    • Alex George

      Thanks Murf.

      The putin troll “Calibra” on Ukraine Today was spewing rubbish claiming that there was no point in Ukraine going at all, because it only had T64s. Utter crap but nobody could shut him up. No doubt this result will, at least for a while.

      A key factor in Ukraine’s heavy tank losses in 2014, besides the ones you mentioned, was an almost complete lack of night vision equipment. The Russians deliberately fought at night whenever possible.

      Hence why the re-equipping of most of Ukraine’s tank reserve force with good NV equipment is a major deterrent to any major assault by Russia.

      • Murf

        Tell that knuckle head this not Russia’s “Tank Biathlon and Smash Em up Derby”.
        Watching junky Soviet era tanks bouncing around the country side wrecking into each, while titillating, has as much to do with good Armor training as a student driver on a monster truck race.
        The competition is about not who has the best tank but who can operate their tank best.
        Ukraine could have shown up with a T-34. If they knew what they were doing they would score well.
        Indeed 5 of the 12 skills evaluated (call for artillery, vehicle recognition, pistol shooting, the team strength challenge and repairing a broken track, had little with what tank you are on, 3 you can do on a bicycle.
        Another thing the T-64 actually had an advantage in the precision obstical course driving because of it’s smaller size and lighter weight. The vehicle has a very good power to weight ratio with the 5TDFM engine. The best VWR in the world with Ukraine’s remarkable 6TD engine, which packs 1500HP. That is as much as an Abrams, on a vehicle that is half the weight.

        • Alex George

          Many of us told Calibra the truth, don’t worry about that. He has now gone strangely quiet on Ukraine Today…

          Very good point about the engine. Whether its for tanks, naval vessels, helo or rockets, Ukraine is showing signs of being a world leader in engine design and manufacture. Its still a bit early to judge, but there are some very promising signs.

          There was a report recently that the Turks are interested in that engine for their new tank.

          • Andrew Chmile

            STFU you “outed” Russo-mongolian LYING **MOLE** !

            Go tell Ukes — AGAIN!!! — they should not mess with the Ruski BS language because Ruski will “get mad” !!! — NOT YOUR FOOKIN’ RUSKI PLACE!! — MOLE!!!

          • Alex George

            What is the matter Andrew – you don’t like me talking about just one of the pro-Ukrainian blogs that have banned you?

            There are a long list of them, where you are no longer welcome.

          • Andrew Chmile
          • Alex George

            Why should I?

            But, while we are on the topic, I have personally seen you banned on UA Today, UA Wire, Kyiv Post and Ukraine Today USA, but there are plenty of other people who talk about you being banned from other blogs too such as Unian. Of course you don’t like those people because they post on blogs you have been banned from. ;o)

            So far as I am aware, this is the only pro-Ukraine blog that still tolerates you, although I suppose you might have infiltrated your way back in to some of the others using a different account. Till they spot you again.

        • Andrew Chmile

          Ruski — a lot smarter than Trump … He p*ssed off the military/intelligence community — by swinging his pecker around…. This wasn’t no “board meeting” — but life & death — unfortunately, not his fat, stupid @ss!

          Did the Russians Dupe Trump?

          Photos (NO U.S. PRESS ALLOWED!!! — ONLY HIS RUSKI BOYS!)