A forest of pine and birch trees surrounds the city of Kharkiv and serves as a natural border from the neighboring country that is now invading them. That is where the battle between Ukrainians and Russians is fought and it is also the place where Putin's forces occupied the territory to place their artillery and constantly bombard the population that in the best of cases fled and in others, had to shelter underground for up to three weeks while the army, militiamen and volunteers resisted and defended the territory.
The front is still active, however, it has been a couple of months since the Ukrainians repelled the attacks and seized the land that today is full of new and used artillery, abandoned. Rusty tanks, garbage and bullets rusting among the fields of sunflowers that continue to grow despite gunpowder, fire and destruction.
On the ground and in the trenches, there are also countless boots that the Ukrainian soldiers show off. They are mostly rubber boots and in other campaign cases. All official and regulation of the Russian army, scattered here and there, some hanging on branches of burned trees and others half buried between puddles and flies.
- Why did they abandon the boots? - I ask, thinking that in my logic they are essential to walk.
- They were not abandoned. The dead and crippled do not wear boots- an officer answers me, while we continue along the path between fields of sunflowers, burned pines and abandoned boots.