PRYVILLIA, Ukraine — Through binoculars, the Ukrainian soldiers can see the Russian position far in the distance. But the single artillery weapon they operate at a small, ragtag outpost on the southern steppe has insufficient range to strike it.
These circumstances have imposed a numbingly grim routine on the Ukrainians, who are pounded daily by Russian artillery salvos while having no means to fight back. Every few hours, they dive into trenches to escape shells that streak out of the sky.
“They have our position fixed, they know where we are,” said Sgt. Anatoly Vykhovanets. “It’s like we are in the palm of their hand.”
As President Volodymyr Zelensky makes almost daily pleas to the West for heavier artillery, it is positions like the one here on the west bank of the Dnipro River that most illustrate how critical that weaponry is for Ukraine. Military analysts say the battle now is riding not so much on the skill or bravery of Ukrainian soldiers, but on the accuracy, quantity and striking power of long-range weapons.