OT:Ukrainian Russian Weapon Scourgers

Ukraine soldiers improvise.

Most of the bartering involves items captured from Russian troops. Ukrainian soldiers refer to them as “trophies.”
“Usually, the trades are done really fast,” Zmei said last week during an interview in Ukraine’s mineral-rich Donbas region, where the 93rd is now stationed. “Let’s just call it a simplification of bureaucracy.”

Despite the influx of Western weapons and equipment in recent months, the Ukrainian military still relies heavily on arms and vehicles captured from their better-equipped Russian foe for the matériel needed to wage war; much of Ukraine’s aging Soviet-era arsenal is either destroyed, worn down or lacks ammunition.

That has left Ukrainian soldiers scrounging the battlefield for essentials as their own supply lines are strained. And the relatively small numbers of big-ticket foreign weapons, such as the American-made M777 howitzer, are thinly spread on the sprawling 1,500-mile front.
“We have hopes for Kyiv,” said Fedir, one of the brigade’s supply sergeants and an understudy of Zmei, referring to military commanders in the capital. “But we rely on ourselves. We aren’t trying to just sit and wait like idiots until Kyiv sends us something.”