Inside Ukraine part 5: Messages from soldier graves

By Jason Williams
Taxpayers Association of Oregon Foundation,

Ukraine Series Background: Jason Williams first went to Ukraine in 2017 to do humanitarian work.  He returned again in May 2023 to provide food, clothing, and medicine to war victims.   This trip was not related to politics or foreign policy but a private charity trip.  His observations were shared with the Taxpayers Association of Oregon Foundation to give readers a rare insight into life, charity work and everyday realities inside a nation at war.

Our team accidentally stumbled upon a cemetery where veterans are buried.  On each soldier’s grave was a cross with a photo of the person who was killed. The photo of a fallen soldier above was 43 and shows that the war is claiming adult men of all ages.

The Financial Times reports that the average age of the Ukrainian soldier is 30 to 35 years old whereas for the Russians it is 20 to 25 years old.

Russia’s massive population means it has more soldiers to draw upon.  This does not count Russia’s current use of importing soldiers from private mercenary groups as well as conscripting their prisoners.  The margins in this war are extremely thin.

As the photo above shows, nearly a hundred soldiers from this town have been killed in the war during the past 14 months.

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Inside Ukraine part 1: What I saw

Inside Ukraine part 2: Children of the war

Inside Ukraine part 3: Visting wounded soldiers

Inside Ukraine part 4: Do we trust media in wartime?