Civilians desperately seek shelter as Russia tries to expand its gains in Ukraine’s south

As Russian forces battle for full control of southern Ukraine, it's the small villages that dot the landscape that have incurred the brunt of their bombardment. John Ray of Independent Television News reports from one town on the frontline, just two miles from where Russian troops are dug in.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    As Russian forces battle for full control of Southern Ukraine, small villages that dot the landscape have borne the brunt of the bombardment

    John Ray of Independent Television News visited one town on the front line just two miles from where Russian troops are dug in.

  • John Ray:

    This is the rhythm of each and every day. It's how they mark time in the town where the Russians measure their progress in ruined homes and frayed minds.

    In this gloom, mental and literal, Ludmilla and her friends have been living for three months without break.

  • Ludmilla, Ukraine (through translator):

    Who asked the Russians to come here? What have they come to free us from, our families, our homes, from our lives?

  • John Ray:

    Vera tells us she has nowhere else to hide.

    How long can you stay?

    "Until it ends," she says.

    So, for the foreseeable future, home is the basement of the town's hospital, no running water, no mains power, no way to care for patients in the dark, unless they can plug in this generator. That too will require nerves of steel.

    How are things in your hospital now? Do you have the medicine, the power?

  • Dr. Constantine Kopyl, Ukraine (through translator):

    No. And we have no patients here at the moment.

  • John Ray:

    You're used to that all day, all day, every day?

  • Dr. Constantine Kopyl (through translator):


  • John Ray:

    Huliaipole is where the Russians were stopped in their tracks. But now its people are marooned in the firing line.

    This is an unremarkable town whose great misfortune is to be so close to Russian lines. They are just two miles down the road here. And that means that almost every day for the past three months, it's come under attack.

    Elena never imagined her mother's twilight years would be spent here in the pitch black of a bunker. Kateryna is death, but she can feel the bombs land.

    "She remembers the Nazis him," Elena says, but she thinks the Russians are worse.

    The Russians know what they're doing. It's just that they don't care very much about the consequences. This enormous crater was once a simple village home. And the family who lived here had even written "People" on the gate.

    Humanity is missing wherever you look. And while the war has turned east, Ukraine cannot afford to neglect this long southern flank.

  • Capt. Andy Bystrik, Ukraine:

    Of course, they have enough ammunition for war. They prepared for this war. They have enough of everything.

  • John Ray:

    So, it's you who needs more.

  • Capt. Andy Bystrik:

    We need more. We didn't prepare.

  • John Ray:

    In this one small town, 21 civilians have died in the daily shelling. It's a collective trauma.

    In the attack on the market, Zhena lived, she says, only because a neighbor pushed her to the floor. She's clearly still in shock. A storm, unlike Russia's bombardment, soon passes over the freshly dug row of graves that advance into no-man's land on the edge of town. In this deadly standoff, it is the only front line that's moving forward.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Just wrenching.

    That was John Ray with Independent Television News.

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