Today on Ukraine: The Latest, we speak to Foreign Correspondent Colin Freeman about his recent reporting from Ukraine and we welcome BBC Correspondent and author Andrew Harding to discuss his new book ‘A Small, Stubborn Town’ about a crucial battle in the first early weeks of the full-scale invasion.
First, Assistant Comment Editor Francis Dearnley describes how the NATO summit in Lithuania ended last night:
As he left the meeting, US President Joe Biden told reporters that Zelensky understood that whether or not Ukraine is in NATO now is “not relevant” because the US and will stand for liberty and freedom as long as it takes.
There were further significant military announcements at the summit, perhaps the most important the confirmation that the Netherlands will begin training Ukrainian pilots to use F-16 fighter jets. As such, Zelensky called the summit a “success” in a statement on Twitter last night, though there are pretty divergent interpretations of the summit depending on one’s viewpoint.
Later, Foreign Correspondent Colin Freeman talks about the 16 hours he spent at a field hospital in Ukraine:
In those 16 hours they had three casualties, all of them all from artillery wounds: mainly very serious injuries to the legs and with lacerations causing very serious bleeding. Two of those casualties were patched up, although they came in unconscious. They were then sent off further down the road for further treatment, the feeling was that they would both pull through. One of them, unfortunately was was dead on arrival. The medics went through the motions and tried to resuscitate him, but it was pretty clear that he was not going to pull through.
Colin explains that despite the death and injuries, the Ukrainian medics soldiered on:
The medics are very matter of fact about what they do when one of the soldiers came in dead. There was no great surprise about it. They didn’t say anything. They zipped him into a black body bag and stored his body in a in a in a separate building and that was that. I asked them how they felt about dealing with so many of their own generation, these were young guys, how it felt to be zipping your peers up into a body bag on such a regular basis.
They just said, well, this is war: that’s something to think about maybe when it’s all over. In the meantime, you take solace in those whom you can save and whom you can do something for. So I think that is very much the way that they are taught to to deal with this and indeed their own commander said much the same thing.
Finally, our guest Andrew Harding explained the impact on ordinary civilians, and the story of those who fought back:
You’ve got to picture these Russian troops who had been launching this crazy, unexpected offensive and had been going through a lot of towns where people just locked their doors. But here was a town that decided to make a stand. And it was only in the last few hours before the Russians arrived, with their tanks and their artillery and their helicopters, it was only just at the last minute that some Ukrainian regular army troops turned up and made a key difference.
I heard about this battle because I was in Ukraine at that time, and I was covering the front lines. It was a battle that not many people had heard about. What happened in littleVoznesensk didn’t seem to be very important, but of course, in retrospect, it proved to be crucial. It proved, perhaps, to have helped change the course of the war.
War in Ukraine is reshaping our world. Every weekday the Telegraph’s top journalists analyse the invasion from all angles - military, humanitarian, political, economic, historical - and tell you what you need to know to stay updated.
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Ukraine: The Latest’s regular contributors are:
David is Head of Social Media at the Telegraph where he has worked for almost two years. Previously he worked for the World Economic Forum in Geneva. He speaks French.
Dom is Associate Editor (Defence) at the Telegraph having joined in 2018. He previously served for 23 years in the British Army, in tank and helicopter units. He had operational deployments in Iraq, Afghanistan and Northern Ireland.
Francis is Assistant Comment Editor at the Telegraph. Prior to working as a journalist, he was Chief of Staff to the Chair of the Prime Minister’s Policy Board at the Houses of Parliament in London. He studied History at Cambridge University and on the podcast explores how the past shines a light on the latest diplomatic, political, and strategic developments.
They are also regularly joined by the Telegraph’s foreign correspondents around the world, including Joe Barnes (Brussels), Sophia Yan (China), Nataliya Vasilyeva (Russia), Roland Oliphant (Senior Reporter) and Colin Freeman (Reporter). In London, Venetia Rainey (Weekend Foreign Editor), Katie O’Neill (Assistant Foreign Editor), and Verity Bowman (News Reporter) also frequently appear to offer updates.