Doctors on front lines of Ukraine’s war

Doctors on front lines of Ukraine’s war

Andrii, a doctor working in a Ukrainian military hospital near the front lines of the war against Russia, has virtually no time for breaks.

Ambulances shuttle back and forth to the hospital, carrying soldiers wounded in fighting that has engulfed towns in Ukrainian-held parts of the Donetsk region.

Andrii, who asked to be identified only by his first name, meets patients being brought in by ambulances.

He scurries down narrow corridors to assess and treat the most recent arrivals.

No sooner has he recorded the death of a serviceman than he is examining another wheeled in on a stretcher.

He cuts off the trousers of one injured man and instructs a nurse to prepare an infusion.

He asks the man, taking notes.

Andrii, 47, is from Kyiv and was working there until Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February when he moved to the front line.

He said that treating young soldiers seemed the most natural thing to do in times of war.

I'm just doing my job. He says all of us do what's needed, and we're just fulfilling our duty.

At least to a certain extent. I'm not saying that I'm doing something 'extra', just everyone is doing their work, and all of this creates a teamwork spirit. That depends on the war, he says.

Russian forces originally planned to advance on the capital Kyiv but changed their strategy after meeting resistance from the Ukrainian army.

The Kremlin, which calls its actions in Ukraine a special military operation, said it would focus on securing the entire Donbass region of eastern Ukraine - parts of which were occupied in 2014 by Russian forces and their proxies.

Thousands of people on both sides died in June after Russian forces captured most of the Luhansk region in battles.

They are pushing south in Donetsk.

Andrii and his colleagues treat the most debilitating injuries inflicted on Ukrainian soldiers.

They work 12 hour shifts in theory, but often stay longer if there are a lot of urgent cases.

The most difficult moments are psychological, says Mykhailo, head of the hospital's surgery department, who did not want his surname to be published.

Mykhailo has had to deal with the stress by setting up a fitness club with some of his colleagues.

The tension is everywhere.

A grenade may be concealed where you least expect it, reads a poster taped to a corridor wall in the hospital.

The medical team keeps working as ambulances keep arriving and patients are brought in for immediate attention.

A nurse starts humming a tune to try and lighten the atmosphere and offers encouragement to one of the injured.