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 Cats and guns. PHOTOstory from Ukraine's frontline by VICE News

Casper, Conan, Papa, Primus, Sabre, Skeptic. The soldiers of the 2nd Platoon of the 7th Company of the 3rd Battalion of the 93rd Brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces — Kuprum (Copper) for short — have shed their former civilian skins to adopt a colorful range of wartime identities.

VICE News spent a week living in the trenches and bunkers of soldiers who feel they have been forgotten by their country and the West, amid a rapidly disintegrating ceasefire, Censor.NET reports.

Amid the grime and the warfare, the men and have learned how to look after themselves - and their pets - with pride.
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Conan, a former member of Ukraine's notorious Berkut elite police force, after returning from an adrenaline-filled scout mission.

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Casper, a young Ukrainian conscript, and Conan walk into the bunker after another recon mission.

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Soldiers roughhouse outside of Position 18, which was battered with mortars, grenades and heavy machine gun fire later that evening.

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The empty tube of a SPG-9 anti tank launcher. The soldiers fire off volleys of rounds during the day to sight in the weapons on rebel positions so they can hit them again when fighting begins at night, when aiming is difficult.

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The church in Pisky hosts a small number of soldiers in its ground floor and basement. They come under enemy fire nearly every night.

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Casper holds his cat Schlyoma, in the bunker. After the war, Casper says Schlyoma is coming home with him.

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Ruslan, the platoon's cook, is also one of its machine gunners, wielding the heavier RPK light machine gun instead of an AK-74 variant.

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2nd Platoon member Oleg speaks to another Ukrainian soldier riding delivery runs around Pisky on a homemade motorcycle.

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A soldier known as Dragon sharpens his knife and smiles after one of the platoon's several kittens climbed onto the back of his neck and went to sleep.

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Bogdan, aka Nuts, and another member of 2nd Platoon duck their heads in a trench after sniper fire cracked through their position.

All photos by Jack Crosbie


 
 
 
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