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Guns of August: Fears of Full-Scale War Return as Casualties Mount in Ukraine

A Eurasianet partner post from RFE/RL

 
Maryinka, Ukraine -- Framed by a tiny cutout in the fortified bunker, this particular piece of no-man's land is tinted a blood-reddish orange by the setting summer sun.
 
It's hot as hell, and it's about to get hotter. When the sun goes down, the guns start blazing. And all that separates the men at their triggers is a grassy patch of land the size of a soccer field that is heavily mined. If you're a Ukrainian soldier here, you don't need binoculars to observe the enemy -- you just look in his direction.
 
It starts with a single shot from a Kalashnikov: Ziiip. Then another: Ziiip. And three more: Ziiip. Ziiip. Ziiip. Each shot whizzes dangerously closer. In the time it takes to boil an egg, the situation escalates as the rifles are joined by .50-caliber machine guns, mortars, and rocket-propelled grenades that explode with hollow thuds against the earth or cottages where the soldiers eat and sleep, showering everything with shrapnel. Within an hour, shells from howitzers and tanks -- and eventually surface-to-surface Grad missiles, whose name is Russian for "hail" -- begin pummeling the scarred steppe.
 

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Copyright (c) 2016. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

A Eurasianet partner post from RFE/RL

Guns of August: Fears of Full-Scale War Return as Casualties Mount in Ukraine

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