As the war in eastern Ukraine continues between Ukrainian forces and battalions from the so-called ‘DPR’ and ‘LPR’, Hromadske went to see what life on the front line is like for one particular group of soldiers, known as the ‘signalmen’, who are responsible for communication among Ukrainian troops in Donetsk.
The task of the signalmen is to secure and repair the wire connections used to transmit calls between the the units serving on the frontline. One of the men explains why this form of communication is preferred over wireless systems: ‘Radio communication, for instance, can be stifled. You can’t do anything to wired connection, not unless the wire is broken or damaged by a bullet.’
Although their primary task is to maintain the signal system, they still face the danger of armed combat on a regular basis. They recount one such incident: ‘Once, we got to that position there, the enemy saw that we were signalmen and opened fire. At first snipers shot at us, then they started shooting from other weapon.We had to engage in battle. It lasted for about 2 hours’.
This constant threat is heightened by the technological advantages the forces from the so-called ‘DPR’ have over the signalmen. One of the men describes the difficulties of night combat: ‘We don’t see them as we don’t have the equipment. However, they see us clearly. We are like rabbits in the night for them’.
by Bohdan Kutiepov