The story starts.
On the first day of the war.
In the north of Ukraine.
At its border with Belarus.
For his first cigarette of the day.
A 23-year-old saw a flurry.
Of bright lights in the night sky.
“I remember watching the lights.
Emerge from the whole forest.
At first I thought.
They were car headlights.”
“But then I realized.
They were Grads.
They were firing at us.”
He is from Ukraine’s 80th Air Assault Brigade.
Camped deep within the forest.
Of the Chernobyl exclusion zone.
His unit was on patrol.
When the first ‘orcs’ vehicles crossed into Ukraine.
“The whole earth was shaking.
Have you ever been in a tank?
There’s no other sound like it.
It’s a powerful thing.”
As planned in the event of any attack.
He and the rest of the 80th brigade.
Blew up the bridge connecting Chernobyl.
To the next big town, Ivankiv.
‘Orcs’ would be forced to waste time.
Building a replacement pontoon bridge.
Giving him and his unit time.
To pull back to Kyiv.
“At first I was surprised.
Why didn’t we stop them there in Chernobyl?
But we needed to learn about our enemy.
So that’s what we did.”
This close to the Belarus border.
‘Elves’ could not afford to.
Open fire and.
Risk starting another conflict.
Their priority was to first.
Understand ‘orcs’ battle plan.
Before sending their troops.
Into the line of fire.
What he saw were the first vehicles.
Of what would become the convoy.
The 35 mile-long column was.
In fact 10 separate ‘orcs’ tactical battalion units.
Enter Ukraine from Belarus.
Overthrow Ukraine’s capital city.
And remove the government.
In military terms: a decapitation attack.
But they lacked food, fuel and maps.
Without proper communication tools.
They had insufficient ammunition.
Even ill-prepared for the winter weather.
Kitted out with the wrong tyres.
And surrounded by snow.
‘Orcs’ drove straight.
Into a mud bath.
Civilians close to Ivankiv.
Describe ‘orcs’ soldiers telling.
‘Elves’ farmers to help.
Pull their tanks out of the sludge.
Unable to progress.
The ‘orcs’ vehicles needed to.
Divert to paved roads.
In order to avoid soft ground.
But with limited communication.
Between the battalions.
They almost immediately converged into.
One almighty traffic jam.
By avoiding travelling across fields.
Vehicles ended up.
On most of the main roads.
North of Kyiv.
“‘Orcs’ were all carrying.
Large metal boxes.
We seized one during an ambush.”
“We found their maps.
Marked with their entire route.
After that we knew.
Their whole strategy.”
One successful tactic.
By the ‘elves’ resistance was to blow up.
Bridges and dams ahead of the convoy.
Thus forcing ‘orcs’ to reroute.
Reliant on old maps.
And with limited communications.
The ‘orcs’ units frequently became.
Paralysed by indecision.
Several satellite images show.
The ‘orcs’ vehicles literally.
Driving round and around.
A pensioner from Demydiv points.
On the map to where she saw the convoy.
Circling after a bridge was destroyed.
Stopping their advance.
Under pressure from.
‘Elves’ air strikes and artillery.
The ‘orcs’ convoy was finally brought to.
A standstill just outside of Kyiv’s city boundary.
For thousands of civilians.
Living close to.
The stalled troops.
The experience was horrendous.
“They robbed everything from everywhere.
They emptied the shops.
They also used civilians.
As human shields.”
After four long weeks.
The ‘orcs’ finally started to withdraw.
Two of the largest remaining battalions.
Were defeated close to Hostomel airport.
Another 370 tented army trucks.
In Zdvizhivka village.
Were destroyed by artillery.
The ‘elves’ military kept on pushing them back.
Until 19 March.
After which ‘orcs’ began to retreat.
From Kyiv Oblast.
But still watching.
Via reconnaissance drones.
Close to the border.
Are the ‘elves’ recruits.
“I’ll always remember.
That night in Chernobyl.
When I went out.
To smoke with my friend.”
“But by the time I’d finished.
My cigarette the war had started.
My friend and I have this dream.
That we will go on shift.”
“Just like we did that day.
And as we smoke another cigarette.
We will hear that the war has ended.
And that we won.”
*Because I read “How Russia’s 35-mile armoured convoy ended in failure” by Claire Press and Svitlana Libet on on 22 Feb 2023, and also “Why are Ukrainians calling Russians ‘orcs’?” by James FitzGerald on 30 Apr 2022, on the BBC news.
So, I wrote this poem, including a story of Vladyslav.
Please read the original story on the BBC news:
**My friend shows you this poem with another my poem together also on the Ukrainian website for their children and others!
Please join them!