Brave Ukrainian soldiers have lifted the lid on their bloody battle with Vladimir Putin’s invaders – with one warning Russian troops “For every metre of ground, you will lose hundreds of soldiers”.

Marc Santora and Tyler Hicks, a reporter and photographer respectively on the New York Times, were able to glean first hand accounts and pictures while embedded with Ukrainian forces in Marinka in eastern Ukraine – described by Mr Santora as a “ruined wasteland”.

Undeterred, Oleg, an 23-year-old soldier in the 79th Air Assault Brigade, explained: “We keep going.

“You have seen our location – it is always under fire. It is very difficult to hold these lines.

“This is our land,” he said. “And we must win this war. And we will definitely do it.

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“Everyone understands that it is difficult and you can lose your life here. But someone has to do it.”

On the outskirts of Bakhmut, soldiers with the 80th Air Assault Brigade spoke to Mr Santora prior to an assault on Russian forces.

Artillery unit commander Yaroslav, 32, said: “It doesn’t matter if it’s an attack or a defence.

“The task of any artillery is always to support the infantry, counter-battery combat and direct destruction of the enemy.”

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“There are times when our forces come under enemy artillery fire. And in order to preserve their lives, it is necessary to make it so that enemy artillery cannot work.

“It is not necessary to kill them for this. But it is necessary to make them shut up.”

Musing on the motivation of Putin’s troops, he added: “I don’t know what kind of motivation you need to have to just go and die in this forest,.

“For every meter of land, they pay hundreds of lost soldiers.”

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