"They are carpet-bombing us"

Here, in the wide expanse of Ukraine’s eastern steppe, heavy weapons are the defining feature of this new phase of the Russo-Ukrainian war. The conflict has ground into a long-range shooting war across the vast gullies and rolling hills, snaking rivers and slag heaps that protrude like miniature mountains in this heavily industrialized area. It’s tricky to advance quickly here and soldiers on both sides rarely — if ever — see each other up close. And so whoever plays the cat-and-mouse artillery game best — and has the biggest guns and most shells to do so — is likely to come out the victor.

Right now, Russia appears to have the upper hand…

But Kyiv hopes the momentum will soon change in its favor with the arrival of NATO weaponry and munitions.

“If it gets here quickly we can push them back. In fact, we can win,” Topaz said. Officials in Kyiv, including President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, have been less upbeat in recent days. He called the fight in the east “hell” and pleaded with the West to rush heavy weapons to his country.

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