On Ukraine's front line: From fallen soldiers to trainee recruits hoping for 'revenge'

ITV News Correspondent Emma Murphy attends a Ukrainian soldier's funeral and meets volunteers preparing to join the fight to push back Russian troops

Ivan Ivasic was just 27-years-old when he was killed while defending his country.

He was a son, brother, husband and comrade, who will forever be remembered as a hero, patriot, and defender of Ukraine.

Instead of their usual weaponry, his fellow troops carried his coffin and red roses as they marched through the streets ahead of his funeral.

Behind them his weeping family, dressed all in black, clung onto each other as they entered the church.

For the troops, the funeral for their fallen friend is just a quick break, before they head back to battle.

Their minds will soon turn to Ukraine's counteroffensive, one of the most dangerous phases of the war, as they hope to push Russia out of their country.

Ivan Ivasic will never know who won the fight he gave his life for.

In his place, many people are leaving behind their jobs for the battlefield.

Soldier Vadim talks to ITV News' as he prepares to join the Ukraine frontline. Credit: ITV News

Vadim, a former IT expert, is learning how to be a soldier. In a month, the make-shift trenches he is practicing in will be the frontline, with the enemy firing directly towards him.

He said to ITV News: "I've got seven of my friends and five of them died in this war, right now I just feel responsibility for their souls and I need some revenge.

"That's why I'm here."

Trainee Ukrainian army troops learn to be soldiers in mocked up trenches. Credit: ITV News

So far Ukrainian troops have advanced 200-500 metres (650-1,600 feet) at various sections of the front line around the Donetsk city of Bakhmut and 300-350 metres (980-1,150 feet) in the southern Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine’s Deputy defence minister Hanna Maliar claimed on Wednesday.

Russia has occupied and controls nearly one-fifth of Ukrainian territory.

But before this even more perilous phase of war begins, Ukraine has lost close to 20,000 soldiers - some of its most experienced.

Julia is responsible for repatriating fallen Ukrainian soldiers to their families. Credit: ITV News

Yuliya, a Ukrainian Army Officer, repatriates the fallen to their families.

She tells ITV News: "It is a tough job but our mission is to bring all soldiers back home to their relatives.

"Everyone deserves to have a place for peace."

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