We headed out in the early hours to visit one of the newly liberated towns surrounding Kyiv. The area was one of the first targets of Russian forces in late February and early March as they tried to encircle the capital and take hold of some air fields.
That advance was largely unsuccessful, and Ukrainian forces are now clawing back territory, bit by bit, though they still come under airstrike and artillery fire as they advance toward Kyiv.
At a pitstop before donning body armour and heading into town, we pulled over in a safe area to have one last coffee and regroup.
The batallion commander opened the back of his car and arranged breakfast for his troops. A big container of pork salo – cured fat – and plastic bags of roast chicken, roast beef, and cheese.
One of the lieutenants brought out a bag of slapped together sandwiches – bread, cheese, some kind of thin meat – and handed them out, while someone else gathered coffees at a nearby gas station.
A bite of chicken, a bite of bread. A sip of coffee. A hunk of cheese. And back into the vehicles, and back towards the front.
Borscht surely awaits at a fall back point later in the day, but for now – caffeine, protein, and complex carbs are the name of the game.