A soldier on patrol from 7th Company walks through a destroyed farmhouse in Pisky, Ukraine, Aug. 8 2015. (Thomas Gibbons-Neff/The Washington Post)
The war in eastern Ukraine is a war of trenches and shelling and of men who are tired of both.
In Pisky, a village on the outskirts of the city of Donetsk, a contingent of Ukrainian army soldiers — 7th Company of the 93rd Brigade — holds a small section of the front. Opposite their positions are Russian-backed separatists who wage their war from trenches of their own. During the day it is mostly quiet, an errant shell on the hour usually reminding those on the line that the war is waiting for darkness.
At night, the fighting starts when the air cools, and it doesn’t stop until an hour before sunrise. This is the war in Ukraine.
A pile of expended shell casings next to one of Point 18’s machine guns on Aug. 10, 2015. (Thomas Gibbons-Neff/The Washington Post)
[At Point 18 in eastern Ukraine, the war grinds on, night after night]
The village of Pisky once had a population of 3,000 and ornate buildings with pool-houses such as this. Now it is mostly destroyed, with few families remaining. (Thomas Gibbons-Neff/The Washington Post) A destroyed Ukrainian T-64 tank marks the outskirts of Pisky, a reminder of the fighting that took place a year earlier. (Thomas Gibbons-Neff/The Washington Post)
[Inside a Ukrainian army unit’s headquarters, the war never ends]
A soldier from 7th Company patrols the outskirts of Pisky while a building smolders in the background on Aug 8. 2015. (Thomas Gibbons-Neff/The Washington Post) A soldier from 7th Company cleans one of the unit’s recoilless rifles after a night of fighting in Pisky, Ukraine, Aug. 9 2015. (Thomas Gibbons-Neff/The Washington Post)