Ian Lovett and Nikita Nikolaienko
| Photographs by Serhii Korovayny for The Wall Street Journal
Dec. 2, 2023 11:00 pm ET
KUPYANSK, Ukraine—For 48 hours in muddy trenches near this northeastern city, the Ukrainian troops had fought off waves of Russian infantry emerging from the tall grass, while artillery hammered everything around them.
They were exhausted, and officers had finally ordered them to return to base with the six Russians they had taken captive. At 3 a.m., two Ukrainian soldiers and their commander set off with the prisoners, walking through a shattered tree line toward the evacuation point.
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