Robots join Ukraine's soldiers in the battle to rescue the dead and shield the living

This video contains distressing images

ITV News correspondent Emma Murphy reports from Ukraine

Evacuating the dead and injured from Ukraine’s frontline has become one of the biggest challenges for the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Russian drones patrol the skies above the battlefield ready to pick off anyone making their way through it.

Now even the armoured evacuation vehicles can’t venture in for fear of being destroyed by anti-tank weapons.

As a result groups of soldiers are sent to carry the dead and injured out. They are often hit and become the dead or injured themselves.

The very process is a gift to enemy forces - a concentration of soldiers moving slowly and without protection.

A few months ago the recovery of one injured soldier left 11 others also harmed.

Deputy Commander Oleksiy of the Assault Company Da Vinci Battalion discusses the new advances robots to help the war effort

The Ukrainian Army is made up of people from all different walks of life, and this has also changed the way of thinking about the threat they face, and how to respond to it.

That is where the idea of the robotic evacuation platform has come from. It's a technological development that means soldiers, using a remote control from a games console, can send in a robotic device to retrieve fallen comrades from a safe distance.

The platform can also carry a remote controlled gun. The idea of a robotic platform or a moving robotic machine gun may seem outlandish but it is working in trials.

The robotic guns and shields can be moved using a remote control. Credit: ITV News

The Ukrainian government is now considering funding such units. At around twenty thousand dollars they are considerably cheaper than most of the weaponry positioned on the frontline.

The wish for those working on the prototypes is soon every battalion will have their own robot.

It might not save many lives but it will save some - and in this war that is worth fighting for.

Snr Lft Oleksandr Yabchanka remembers his friend Oleg Kornay (pictured).

Snr Lft Oleksandr Yabchanka, had driven to the frontline with his friend, a 22 year old soldier nicknamed Norman. They were both from Lviv and had struck up a close friendship in difficult times.

To avoid being targeted by drones they walked towards the trench a couple of minutes apart.

By the time Oleksandr arrived Norman was dead, struck by artillery right by the dugout.Norman, real name Oleg Kornay, hadn’t even told his mother he was going to war because he didn’t want her to worry.

Oleg Kornay, (L) and Snr Lft Oleksandr Yabchanka. Credit: ITV News

A month later Oleksandr was injured trying to recover another injured soldier. Unable to fight he has spent his time working with colleagues to try and reduce the harm done to his comrades at the front. His dream is that a mechanised evacuation platform, and even a robot gun could reduce the number of dead and injured.

“War is always about losses, especially this kind of war, especially with an enemy who does not count their own losses,” he said.

He added: “They have a complete disregard for human dignity and life, in principle. And when you fight with such an enemy, he expects that despite his losses, our losses will still be more painful for us.

"This is his hellish math. Our task is to break this math. That is to make it zero."

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