When Pavlo Zhilin and his patrol hit the streets of Cherkasy, men swerve to avoid them.
Pavlo is a conscription officer looking for soldiers for Ukraine’s army.
But almost two years into Russia’s full-scale invasion, there’s no flood of volunteers to the front line anymore.
Most of those who wanted to fight are either dead, injured or still stuck at the front waiting to be relieved by new recruits.
Instead, the security service in Cherkasy is constantly shutting down local social media channels that warn people when the conscription teams are in town and alert them to areas to avoid.
When I ask Pavlo whether he’s lost friends in the fighting, he admits that there’s “almost no one left” from his entire company. “The only ones left are [injured] like me. The others are dead.”
On the edge of Cherkasy, there is a cemetery with a long line of recent graves. They’re for the men of all ages from the town who’ve died. Ukraine honours the dead as heroes, but it’s left to their families to grieve.
R&I ~ MJM
Article URL : https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-68255490