Ukraine: The People's Fight

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War Documentary hosted by Olly Lambert, published by BBC in 2023 - English narration

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Image: Ukraine-The-People-s-Fight-Cover.jpg

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Filmmaker Olly Lambert spends two months on Ukraine's southern front, gaining unique and privileged access to a group of volunteer special forces on the frontline as they begin the push to retake Kherson that would ultimately change the course of the war.

Lambert's first stop is Mykolaiv, the Ukrainian city which stopped the Russian advance in the south. The city is still under rocket attack and the fear is of a fresh push from Putin's forces which could then threaten to cut Ukraine off from the sea and in the process cripple its economy. Yet the Russians are not making any progress, so how are the Ukrainians managing to hold off one of the world's biggest armies?

Lambert is taken by the city's mayor, Vitaly Kim, to a secret intelligence centre where ordinary citizens, like architect Alexei, are using their technical skills to build drones for use at the front. In fact the centre is full of civilians aiding the war effort, the whole of Ukrainian society seems to be involved in resisting the Russians.

It still remains hard to understand exactly what's taking place on the front even though it's just 20kms from Mykolaiv, access is tightly controlled by the Ukrainian Army. In search of answers, Lambert makes contact with Roman Kostenko a former Special Forces officer turned MP. Roman is from the Kherson region and, determined to take back his homeland, has swapped his suit for a uniform and re-joined the military. He is now running a series of units on the frontline made up of volunteers, he agrees to take Lambert to meet them.

Having made their way through checkpoints and avoided Russian drones, Lambert arrives at a farmhouse to meet the unit run by an experienced military commander called Hummer. His group of volunteers – including a carpet salesman and a kebab shop owner – are running mortar missions targeting Russian tanks on the frontline. Lambert spends time with them as they take the fight to the better armed Russian forces, taking cover with them as a tank fires upon their positions. These men are willing but inexperienced and despite occasional successes, Lambert can see the limitations of Ukraine's war effort up close.

But while he is following the work of this unit, the fortunes of the Ukrainians in the South begin to improve as heavy US artillery arrives, inflicting increasing damage on the Russians. The long-awaited Ukrainian offensive on Kherson is now imminent and Hummer and his unit are called to take part. Lambert witnesses Roman and Hummer undertaking the strategic planning for one of the earliest operations, the battle for a village called Andriivka.

Hummer is anxious about this operation as his brother, a policeman, has been called up. The lack of experienced troops means he and his fellow Police officers – after a few weeks of basic training - are being sent to the frontline to attack Russian forces. To find out what may be in store for his brother, Hummer takes Lambert to the zero line, the furthest point for Ukrainian troops, to witness another Police unit in action. Expecting to find the troops in difficulties, instead they witness them performing well, their drones and mortars successfully taking out Russian tanks. It's an impressive sight and makes Lambert realise that as well as Ukraine's powerful foreign weapons and a regular army with smart tacticians, there was also a vast shadow army of volunteers. They were drawn from all walks of life but had one thing in common - they simply were not going to give up until they could say they'd won.

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  • Video Codec: x265 CABAC Main@L4
  • Video Bitrate: CRF 23 (~2840Kbps)
  • Video Resolution: 1920x1080
  • Video Aspect Ratio: 16:9
  • Frame Rate: 25 FPS
  • Audio Codec: AAC-LC
  • Audio Bitrate: 128Kbps CVBR 48KHz (200Kbps peak)
  • Audio Channels: 2
  • Run-Time: 59 mins
  • Number Of Parts: 1
  • Part Size: 1.22 GB
  • Source: HDTV (1080i/h264 5655Kbps VBR 2.63GB)
  • Encoded by: JungleBoy

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