Ukrainian troops wait to join the counteroffensive in the 'grey zone'

The grey zone's parameters are defined by trenches and the soldiers defending them.
Posted at 8:05 PM, Jul 24, 2023

The zero-line combat is at its most intense. Video captured by GoPro cameras mounted on helmets shows a grim hallmark of this war, capturing action at the micro level. And all along the 600-mile front line, hundreds of thousands of troops await their moment to move forward.

A territorial defense unit brought Scripps News to their stretch of turf in the Zaphorizhia sector over a perilous, bombed out road to what on the map looks like a clearly colored divide: Green and blue for Ukrainian-controlled territory, and red for Russian.

In actuality, between the two exists an unmarked reality.

Church personnel inspect damages inside the Odesa Transfiguration Cathedral.

Russian strike in Ukraine badly damages landmark Orthodox cathedral

Russia has been launching repeated attacks on Odesa, a key hub for exporting grain, since Moscow canceled a landmark grain deal.


Scripps News' Jason Bellini was less than a mile away from the Russians' position. Out there is what's known as the "grey zone" — the no man's land between the Ukrainian and Russian armies.

The grey zone's parameters are defined by trenches and the soldiers defending them — enemies monitoring each other, each with their drones looking for troops to target.

The sergeant bears responsibility for his unit protecting this small stretch of front-line domain. They're on alert should Russian forces brave an assault through the grey zone.

There they wait for other soldiers to clear the way, because they only way past the grey zone is through the minefield.

The commander of the 72nd Brigrade, Nazariy Kishak, described a leapfrog strategy that begins with his infantry assault teams crossing the grey zone.

Kishak says he's applying his NATO training, breaking his units into smaller, more nimble groups that are gaining experience, improving every day that they fight in the grey zone.