Caught in Bombing on Ukraine Front Line (beyond extreme)

Caught in Bombing on Ukraine Front Line (beyond extreme)

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You could hide during that ——, say in a cellar, and now nowhere. This is a —— you can't hide from. I don't know mate, it's a lot of shelling. Buildings ripped apart, destroyed burnt out ——, cars on their side.

And we've come further towards the Russian position now. Vladimir Putin has launched a major —— operation again. Today this building was ——. Sounds you can hear behind us is Russian artillery hitting the city.

Just wanted to destroy this civilization. - This is my house. - This is your house? So, what you're saying is this —— is more scary than World —— II? Every man will fight. Bits of ——. —— smell.

- This is Russian world. - Destruction everywhere. When they go outside, they feel like they're playing lottery with their life. You and her heart are near. Unexploded —— here, destroyed buildings everywhere, the air raid sirens going off in the background.

This one's completely burnt out. It's probably one of the —— cities in the world at the moment. Let's see how this goes.

It's really quite hard for me to convey how many —— holes are here. Now we've been told to stay right here because they expect that a Russian counter artillery... Welcome back to another day in Kharkiv, Ukraine. Second-biggest city in Ukraine. Population before the invasion of 1.4 million roughly, and now that's been split in half.

People have fled. Many people still staying here, some in —— shelters in the metro stations, some people sticking it out in their homes. There's heavy artillery strikes in the background, you can hear, we've been hearing them all morning today, they've actually been quite heavy, the heaviest since we've been here.

Good morning everyone, and welcome to our balcony in Kharkiv. The sounds you can hear behind us is Russian artillery hitting the city which it does basically like this every morning, I mean, the first time you hear it, you wake up pretty shocked and pretty frightened but the 10th, 20th, 30th time basically means absolutely nothing to you. Today we're going out, we're going to meet up with a soldier, he's going to take us out to a village which was under occupation by the Russians.

We're going to see who we can meet, see what it was like living there, luckily we've got access with the —— this time. See sirens in the background, ——, this is a —— zone. So, today we are going out to one of the recently liberated villages, and the Ukrainian ——'s push to retake Kharkiv Oblast. Now, we've been trying to do that for a couple of days now, haven't been successful, but we've got a friend with quite high-ranking contacts in the —— who said that they can arrange us a —— escort to take us out there, so we're hoping that today will be the day our luck comes through. Thank you.

We just arrived here and there's a huge smashed up building behind you, right? This is where we're meeting the ——, right? Yeah, we hope so. So we're just jumping in another car now and heading out there. So, in the field behind us, we just passed a shot down, really busted up helicopter.

There was some pretty intense fighting here very recently. So we've driven probably like half an hour or so out of Kharkiv, and then we saw a huge artillery in the field just now. Yeah, we did, there were two massive howitzers and over here as you can see, we've got a really busted up ——, now we know this one's Russian, you can see the infamous Z sign that it's got painted on the side of it right there. So we can hear in the distance artillery, consistently, right? Yeah, you can hear incoming and outgoing artillery quite consistently.

We're pretty close to the front lines now, and there were battles here taking place just days or weeks ago. Tom, what exactly just happened because that was absolutely wild? Yeah so basically the Ukrainians just fired a massive artillery battery pretty much right next to us. We could see about 10,15 rockets just go over our heads.

Now, we've been told to stay right here because they expect a Russian counter artillery... Well, there you go. So, that helicopter's just over there, you can see it on the ground, it's got a Z on it. This is right in the middle, it's insane. So, we've just driven about two minutes from where we saw those —— going overhead.

We've met a local man here, can you introduce him? - Nikolai. - Nikolai, same as me. Many people have left this area because of the fighting, why have you not? Not so many, here about 10 people have left. We just heard insane artillery going overhead, is that just normal around here? We've got used to it, but it's scary nonetheless.

And you'll stay here, no matter what happens? I've got nowhere to go. Is there any message that Nikolai would like to give to the world about what's going on here? Of course there is hope, there is hope for the better, but what actually will happen. And the people who are causing this ——, is there anything he wants to say to them? I can't, it's not clear what happened. We'll live the rest of our lives in Ukraine, we won't go to Russia, my son lives in Russia, but I don't want to go there. Are you speaking with your son currently? No, I'm not speaking to him currently.

He'd, of course, take me if I came, but I was born here, I don't want to go anywhere. Does his son know what's going on here? Of course, he knows. And what are his thoughts? What are the son's thoughts? He keeps silent. I've gone through one —— already, it's different now. - World —— II? - Yeah, yeah. And so, does this feel similar to World —— II? You could hide during that ——, say in a cellar, and now nowhere.

This is a —— you can't hide from. So, what you're saying is, this —— is more scary than World —— II? - Yes, yes. - By a lot. Can I ask how old Nikolai is? Eighty-three. You faced some incredible things in your life, do you have any advice about life? You've lived through two, you're living through one terrible ——, and you've lived through one of the worst wars of the world, do you have advice for anybody? What can I advise, Russians and Ukrainians still can't make peace. What's important in life? I can only recommend you health and so that you live long, you'll need to replenish.

So this is the village of Mayagonya, it was liberated, but as you can see, it's still the site of heavy fighting, now we've been told that the soldiers here they —— a young girl who lived here, they also burned some houses down, and they also engaged in quite widespread looting as well. The girl that, we obviously don't know the identity, but she's left the country, right? She's placed in Europe somewhere. Yes, they told us that she's safe and that she's outside of Ukraine now. So, we were talking earlier to one of the soldiers who's been fighting on the front lines here, he said that the Russians have tried to assault this village again several times but every time they've been repelled, and he said more or less they suck at fighting, and we're gonna win. What's going on? I don't know mate, it's a lot of shelling, it's outgoing over there, so it was just outgoing fire from Ukraine coming from over there and hitting Russian positions a few kilometers away that way. So, at this stage we went through a few more villages and just saw absolute despair.

In this village in particular there was nobody to be seen and just absolute devastation like I've never seen. Buildings ripped apart. Destroyed, burnt out ——, cars on their side, houses destroyed.

So, we just stopped in this farm in the fields in between some villages. We were waiting to get clearance to move from place to place, because there is artillery fire like right next to us all the —— have to be obviously communicating, make sure accidents don't happen. So, here we are in this farm which was struck by an attack.

I think this was occupied by the Russians as well. They're also doing humanitarian work here? Yes, I think what we heard is that some of the people here are cooking food for the soldiers and the people who are in the affected villages. Yeah, it's just amazing that the farmers are still going about their day, like we see them cleaning up and doing jobs and things, right? Artillery is going over their heads, you know.

So as you can see behind me, some of the cows are still here. A lot of the animals were —— during the ——. We just heard from the main farmer here and she was explaining that the Russians would come in and —— at her for fun and then when they missed, and they drove past her again they said, we'll get you tomorrow, that's just what she was saying so... What can you say to that. At this stage, we went closer to the Russian positions, things started to get intense quite quickly.

We were driving at extremely high speeds down this highway, 150 km/h. There were rockets sticking out of the road in parts. Driving around destroyed bridges. There were huge Ukrainian artillery and —— vehicles, obviously I couldn't film them not to give away their positions, but there was an extremely heavy —— presence.

There were —— aircraft going overhead, and we were just driving down this road, dodging holes from rocket strikes. I was told the reason that we had to drive so quickly, that we could easily be targeted by the Russians driving here, so the faster we move, the better. And whenever we parked it's best to park under trees, or under a bridge, or under shelter just like the Ukrainian —— vehicles were doing. We've driven down the motorway a bit, past heaps of huge —— equipment, huge artillery vehicles, and we've come to these destroyed apartment blocks here down the street.

This whole trip today has been led by two Ukrainian —— women. We've driven for quite a bit further going like super fast, like 150km/h and we've come further towards the Russian position now. Yes, we're in a place called Chuhuiv, which is if you see here, it's actually on the road between Kharkiv and Izyum now Izyum is where the Russian headquarters for the Donbass offensive are now, so it means that the Ukrainians have obviously made pretty major gains in the last couple of weeks if they're able to take us this close to the main road where the Russian headquarters are, really. I just saw a lady in the second window from the top to the very left, the lady just came and looked out and then walked back into her house, so, I don't know, she's living in there, what's going on there, but this is a recently destroyed building and there's still a woman just in there. They do evacuate people. Like, they evacuate some people, and they take them to Kharkiv but there are just a lot of people who will just refuse to leave, no matter what.

On the way here we saw lots of Ukrainian artillery in hiding spots in petrol stations, under bridges and things like that, and you were saying something interesting, Tom, about some decoys and things that the Ukrainians come and pull out sometimes. So, it's a really, really weird game of cat and mouse between the Russians and the Ukrainians, no one knows how it might work, so for instance we saw some very old howitzers that were pulled out that probably wouldn't have been that much use in a fight. They're the kind of things that you can afford to lose very easily because they're not very expensive, and they're getting replaced by modern western artillery, so what it could have been, it could have been a decoy, because then the Russians can fire and when the Russians fire, Ukrainian radar can pick up their positions and then the Ukrainians with their newer western artillery can fire back now that they've pinpointed their position. Just arrived in this village and this looks quite fresh.

So, most of the houses that we've been seeing, you can still kind of make out that they're houses, right? But this one, not so much. This is the crater here. This is the crater of the ——, yeah, so one single —— absolutely devastated all the buildings around us. So, we've made it back to the city center of Kharkiv. I don't really have words to describe, you know, obviously what we just saw, the access that we just got, it was because we were rolling with some pretty heavy names in press, and so we got that, it's really exclusive press access, it was really beyond anything I could ever imagine, being that close to the front lines. Still explosions going on, you can hear them in the background.

Never would have expected to be that close and when the artillery was flying over our heads, but it's not going to come through on the camera, I guarantee it, radiates through your entire body, it's so loud, so captivating. Absolutely mental, you know. Sad news like, less than an hour ago in the zoo here in Kharkiv there's been an attack and a young 15-year-old teenage boy was saving and evacuating animals trying to get them to a safer place, and he was —— trying to save the animals, and that's just happening, you know, real time right now. Very —— place, more —— right now, but we just went and had some food, it's a beautiful little cafe and things, and it's so surreal to see life go on while we're in amongst all this, it's one of the most bizarre things I've ever seen, but of course, it makes sense, people have to go on with their lives right? But it's very strange.

You know, there's this beautiful hip kind of cafe, world-class food, beautiful salads and things, and then outside the window you hear ——, and then you check the news and somebody's —— not far from here trying to save animals, you know, young boy, it's insane. There was a part today that we couldn't go to because apparently there were dead —— still lying there, and that was a restricted zone that we had planned on going, but a battle had taken place quite recently so... Anyway, got an interesting story now. Friend Tom is going to show you something he had here, he had done here recently, and it just kind of shows like how much of this work is his life. The mirror fountain it's one of the sort of symbols of the city of Kharkiv, is one of the famous architectural monuments standing in front of one of the most beautiful churches in the city and because of the time I've been here and the work I've done it's been very impactful on me, so I decided to get, as you can see, a sort of souvenir. Something interesting about the tattoos is that the tattoo parlor here is actually still doing tattoos, right? And we're going to swing by and see if they're open at the moment, see if they'll tell us a bit about their work.

Yeah, so as far as we understand, they're the only tattoo parlor left in Kharkiv, they did this for me about a week ago, and we know that they're still working at the moment, and they say that actually business has been booming, a lot of soldiers have coming, they've got things like their regiment or they've got like tattoos of —— made on them because they've got nowhere else to spend their money, and they're getting paid quite a lot of money for what they're doing in the —— right now. So, this is Charlie, resident dog tattoo artist. Good boy. Good boy.

So we've come into Pain Street Tattoo parlor in Kharkiv and this is Tim, and we have Hannah. You were just telling me about a scenario when a rocket hit like 150 meters from here. Yeah about 150 meters from this place and the whole electricity was shut down and during that moment Hannah had a client, and it was necessary to finish the tattoo at that day, so Hannah turned on her headlight, put the special battery into her tattoo machine, and we continued to do it totally in the dark.

So you had a really great idea just now, because Tom, you know, he's a bit of a madman, he's going to get another tattoo today, and we're going to simulate. You said it'd be a good idea, to show what happened on that day when 150 meters away a rocket hit just around the corner and when a rocket hits they have to shut down the electricity because in case of fires and things. Yes, so we can now show you how it was and simulate those situation to the details. Okay, amazing, let's do it. What tattoo are you going to get, Tom? A small love heart with the colors of Ukraine, blue and yellow.

So the lights are going off, right? So we're all done with Tom's tattoo, came out pretty epic, I think. Tim, you were saying that you have your hand in a lot of charity work around here in the region, can you just explain a little bit about that? Starting the fourth day of ——, we organized our own volunteer group, we called ourselves The Juicy Strudel Volunteer Kitchen. - Juicy Strudel? - Juicy Strudel, that's right.

And we started to feed people. Right now, we are making about 800 portions of hot meals, soups, we make our own bread, 300 pieces of bread. - A day? - A day, yes. And we share this food with hospitals, subways where people living right now. We're like Uber food, we deliver food for apartments, people call us saying like, two old people, we don't have money, we don't have an ability to cook or whatever, we say no problem, what kind of food do you need? What kind of medicine do you need? We bring it.

Can you just explain, you were telling me before, about how you get used to ——, but you never get used to hunger because I thought that was quite powerful. During living in a basement it's a hard time really, you never expected anything like this in your life, somehow you need to get used to it and get through it. We have a motto of our volunteer group that you can get used to anything and situation right now in Kharkiv in Ukraine proves it. There is only one thing you can never get used to, it's hunger. You were saying every day that four children are —— in Ukraine at the moment.

Yes the statistic is painful, six children's a day. Yes, six children's a day, so it's one child every four hours. I miscalculated the numbers, yes, six children's a day. Every help that right now goes to Ukraine, every person who shares information about Ukraine, it all chains of one huge chain which lead us to victory and if we combine our energy, our powers will make the —— faster at least for one day it's already six children will live.

And that's only kids, there's also adults as well dying on top of that right? The amount of adults is much higher, and I don't know the statistic right now because I actually, I don't have enough strength to watch news every day, I did it for 30 days, and then I said no, I have to work for people, no matter what's going on in the country, I don't have emotional resources watching what's going on in Bucha, what's going on in other cities, I just have not enough emotional resources. Just to finish off, is there any words that you would like to share to the world in general just about the ——? - —— sucks. - Well, she's straight. A lot of my friends all around the world, all around the globe asking me how far to the end, how much time, I stopped counting the days to the victory because the main parameter is now not a time is human lives, so the main question is not how long, but how much lives Ukraine should give to stand against aggressor, how much soldiers would —— on the front line, how much kids would —— starving in cities like Bucha. I appreciate you guy's time.

- Thank you. - Thank you so much. So, all guys from our group have the same. The flak jacket? Yes, the flak jacket, and I have to wear it even when I go shopping for buying milk, bread, whatever because I know that if rocket drops somewhere around I'm not the one who will run away, I'll try to help someone, and also, I know the Russian tactics, if you hit the rocket anywhere wait 30 minutes and hit one more time in the same place, it happens everywhere in Ukraine right now. So basically, what they do is they drop a rocket to cause the initial damage and then... And call the people for help and then where more people in that area they drop another one. So, they're targeting the humanitarian.

Yes, yes, and it's happening all the time, and we are getting used to it also, we are prepared for this. Okay, so we're on the way to Kyiv. All the curtains on the inside of the train are shut, so the lights and the carriages can't be seen from outside, so they're not targeted. The train lines are still running pretty well, some of the stations have been targeted, but luckily Ukraine has such a large network of train lines that even if train lines are damaged, from what I've been told, easy to circumnavigate these damages, but fortunately the train lines are still largely working. Anyway, I'll see you in Kyiv, I'm absolutely exhausted. So fortunately, everything went smoothly with the train ride, stopped off in Kyiv for a little bit, but ultimately left the country and returned back to Hungary, it was a 40-hour train ride.

This trip was by far the most extreme trip of my life. I think this episode speaks to that quite clearly. The suffering and the pain that I've seen on this trip is almost impossible for me to even try to put into words, so I'm just going to leave it with the images, if you want to check out Tim and Hannah's volunteer work I'll leave their Instagram's below, they've got information there, how you can support them, they're doing incredible work.

I am also doing another fundraiser alongside that, we're really close to our goal of $120 000 USD. Huge thank you to everybody who's been watching this series and on top of that, a huge thank you to everybody who's donated, and if you want to donate and get over that goal of $120 000 USD that would be greatly appreciated. A huge thank you to everybody who made this series possible.

Stas and Yevheniy at the start of the series, and Tom who really was my right-hand man in Kharkiv, without him, I would have been lost, he really showed me everything. He obviously is more trained in these combat scenarios, so huge thank you to Tom, please check him out on Instagram, I'll leave that below he's also got a twitter if you want to check that out. I believe he's more or less based in Ukraine covering the —— and has been for months. He's a very knowledgeable guy, as you can see from the videos, so a huge thanks to Tom for basically keeping me alive. That's the end of the Ukraine series.

Was the most exhausting trip of my life by far, being in such high-risk areas but like I've mentioned, I'm not living there, I can go there, I can come back to a safe house, to a safe country. What I experience is nothing in comparison. My heart is with the innocent people of Ukraine who were just living their lives, and one day they wake up and they're being bombarded. I'll see you on the next series. Thank you so much for watching, and thanks for all your support and kind words. In case I don't see you, good afternoon, good evening and good night.

2022-06-25 15:14

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